Craig Mackinlay MP has called for Gibraltar’s 23,000 voters to be offered the opportunity to elect their own representative to the House of Commons in Westminster so that they will finally have a say at the heart of Britain’s seat of democracy.
The South Thanet MP made the plea during a ten minute speech to MPs as he formally tabled his Representation of the People (Gibraltar) Bill in Parliament.
Mr Mackinlay’s Bill, which has cross Party support, is co-sponsored by nine MPs: Sir Graham Brady (Con), Maria Caulfield (Con), Sir David Crausby (Lab), Nigel Dodds (DUP), Tim Farron (LibDem), Daniel Kawczynski (Con), Rt Hon Priti Patel (Con), Andrew Rosindell (Con) and Sammy Wilson (DUP).
Paying tribute to Gibraltar for its “vibrant and responsible democratic system of government”, the South Thanet MP assured the Commons that his Bill would not change the Rock’s devo-max settlement of 2006, nor would it impose a Westminster MP upon Gibraltar. The decision as to whether there will be an MP for Gibraltar in Westminster, Mr Mackinlay said, “must be made by Gibraltarians, and decided by their own internal procedures.”
He also took the opportunity to highlight the support the proposal has received from the Representation in Westminster Group – Gibraltar’s ‘on the ground’ campaign’ for representation in the British Parliament to strengthen the Rock’s link with the UK. The Representation in Westminster Group has so far collected almost 9,000 signatures in support of the proposal. Their petition will be delivered to Westminster once 10,000 signatures have been collected.
Mr Mackinlay’s speech can be viewed here.
After his speech to MPs, Craig Mackinlay MP, commented:
“There are lots of reasons why there should be representation in Parliament for Gibraltarian interests. Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, and because of the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 has to be either British or Spanish. Other overseas territories could, if they so wished and however unlikely that may be, break away from the UK to full independence; Gibraltar cannot.
“The people of Gibraltar have confirmed repeatedly their desire to stay under the British Crown, most recently in a referendum in 2002 when shared sovereignty with Spain was overwhelmingly rejected.
“Gibraltar already has an electoral link with the UK via shared MEPs. It is linked for representation in the European Parliament to the South West region. When we leave the EU next year, so does Gibraltar, hence an established linkage for electoral purposes will be lost.
“Gibraltar is also in the Sterling zone, which adds a further reason as to why it should have representation in the UK Parliament.
“And the Rock’s importance in providing a Royal Navy base in a strategically vital location is a further factor.
“So there are very clear reasons why Gibraltar should be offered a new electoral link between Gibraltar and Westminster. I hope, therefore, that this proposed legislation, which already has cross party support in Parliament and among voters in Gibraltar, will also be supported by the UK Government.”
The Bill’s Second Reading will be heard on Friday 26 October 2018.