Chief Minister Fabian Picardo MP QC addressed guests at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Monday at the traditional Gibraltar reception.
Briefing those present on the current engagement involving the UK and Brussels on the Rock’s future relationship with the EU, he said that he expected that useful negotiations for a new treaty could be about to start.
The Chief Minister explained that Gibraltar, having lost access to the single market on services with the EU, nonetheless continues to have that same access to the UK market for services.
Mr Picardo said he hoped new arrangements being discussed would lead to fluidity for movement of people between the Rock and Schengen states as well as the possibility of arrangements for more fluid movement of goods.
“I am very confident that we are going to be able to do this treaty,” he said pointing to a new “bespoke arrangement” and welcoming support from Labour MPs across the benches in Parliament adding that Gibraltar is “completely committed to our relationship with the United Kingdom as a part of the British family of nations.”
Responding, Catherine West, shadow minister for Europe and the Americas with responsibility for Gibraltar, emphasised that Gibraltar has Labour’s support “in the detail and from the heart.” She expressed appreciation for Gibraltar’s long support for Great Britain and stressed the importance of Gibraltar enjoying, from the UK, the prosperity that it had had from membership of the EU.
Ms West said Gibraltar should be fully informed in and represented in arrangements which the UK carries out with the EU, to ensure its particular position and particularities are fully protected and respected.
“We will be there whenever you need us. We fully support the double lock under which the UK makes clear that it will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against its wishes,” she said. She conveyed the best wishes from the Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.