Reacting to news that Government will be tabling a motion before Parliament to approve the award of the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour to US Congressman George Holding, Equality Rights Group have called for members of Parliament to think twice.

"John Bercow, the Speaker to the House of Commons at Westminster, recently took the highly unusual but principled step of formally announcing his ‘strong opposition’ to any idea that in the proposed State Visit of US President Donald Trump to the UK, the President should be conceded the honour of addressing Parliament. His comments left nothing to the imagination, telling MPs that "opposition to racism and sexism" were "hugely important considerations".

Despite foreseeable criticism amid the political ‘benefits’ that formal parliamentary recognition might be said to advance for the UK in allowing a Presidential address in the Commons, Speaker Bercow’s firm stance against the ideology that Trump represents is important to note, and is a prime example of the way a Parliament is able to presume and register democratic dissent and moral conviction over an Executive."

"The Gibraltar Medallion of Honour, established by Sir Peter Caruana in 2008, has rightfully recognised the distinguished contribution of many worthy individuals,’" the Group stated.

"Congressman George Holding is an unwavering Trump supporter. He has clearly and publicly stated as much, telling reputable US news agencies that "I want (Trump) to be successful and I'll do my part [to make sure] he's successful." Records indicate that Republican Mr. Holding has not only opposed advances on LGBT issues, most notably regretting the Supreme Court’s reversal of an infamous part of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June 2013. It was that Supreme Court decision which made possible a historic end to discrimination in marriage for the LGBT community in the USA, and which Representative Holding so regrets. His record on women and other civil rights issues may also be questionable."

‘We understand that Government is thankful to the Congressman for his role in securing favourable political positions for Gibraltar in the USA. Nonetheless, sponsoring and tabling a motion in Congress as a qualifying contribution is hardly proportionate to the weight and distinction of the Gibraltar Medallion, rendering little service to its honourable standing. Furthermore, ERG considers that for the Gibraltar Parliament to align itself in this manner, by thus honouring an unequivocal supporter of the Trump ideology and administration, goes against every single tenet of what our Constitution and People stand for. Sexism and racism have no place in this Society, nor should we be rewarding those who defend such values.

‘We ask Members of Parliament to consider their positions seriously on this matter. For our part, ERG clearly disapproves and opposes this announced award, and applauds John Bercow’s stand in favour of conviction and values over expediency," the statement concluded.

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