As the debate on Brexit develops I have been saddened by the criticism levelled, in several social groups, at several MP’s who, for many years, have been fervent defenders and loyal friends of Gibraltar, namely Lindsey Hoyle, Andrew Rosindell and others.
I have known these MPs since they took a stand for Gibraltar around 1998 and both of whom supported Devolved Integration with Britain for Gibraltar.
These politicians, who have been voted in their respective Constituencies in the UK, have on their own free will stood up in Westminster Parliament and defended Gibraltar on numerous occasions against the many virulent attacks by Spain against Gibraltar. Now some people in Gibraltar deny these people’s good work for us because they stand for their principle that they belief that Britain would benefit by being outside the EU. We have known that they have always been Euro-Sceptics and now, I am sure, to their great and painful regret they have to take a stand for the people who voted them into Parliament, their own constituents in Britain. This does not mean that they do not care for Gibraltar, on the contrary, they care a lot, but they are caught in a dilemma when voting in this historical referendum when voting IN or OUT of Europe.
These men had no need to stand up for Gibraltar and yet they did, and I am sure that they will continue to be our closest allies and defenders still. Gibraltar must send these valuable friends a message that it is OK, that we understand their dilemma.
The fact remains that we have no MP in Westminster to speak and vote for Gibraltar, this is a parliamentary political deficit for Gibraltar.
In this current Brexit situation there are several things we must bear in mind, in our long term interest, first that it would be unwise to seek a position in Europe if Britain in not there since we would be exposing ourselves to a situation of entrapment as far as Spain is concern because there is little or no sympathy or loyalty to Gibraltar in Europe and Spain has long and strong diplomatic tentacle in Europe where Gibraltar would be vulnerable.
So Gibraltar must go where Britain goes, ‘In’ with Britain or ‘Out’ with Britain.
I am hoping that it will be ‘IN’, but I hope that HMGOG has already thought of obtaining assurances from the British Government to ‘Support and Sustain’ Gibraltar into the future, as and when this is needed and until Gibraltar adjusts to the new situation, in the same way as was done when the Frontier was close, this assurance is imperative to have obtained now even though a new situation is still in the future. W? Simply because if Brexit happens it would not be of Gibraltar’s doing or design.
I finish with the original thought; Gibraltar should officially send a note of ‘Understanding and Appreciation’ to those MP’s who are caught in a situation of conflict of interests in the upcoming situation, so that these persons will continue to be ‘Friends and Defenders’ of Gibraltar in British Parliament.
Joe L. Caruana MBE