Friday, September 23, 2005

Fox reiterates support for Tripartite talks

• “But no diminution of sovereignty"

Dr Liam Fox - Conservative Shadow Foreign SecretaryDr Liam Fox, shadow foreign minister for the Conservative Party called on Chief Minister Peter Caruana yesterday at No 6 and was briefed on current development affecting Gibraltar.

This followed his after dinner speech to the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce where he said he was absolutely not averse to Gibraltar having an MP in the Commons.

Mr Caruana observed that, for Gibraltar to have an MP in the Commons, since it is not integrated, would require a change in the constitutional position in UK to allow representations of territories in the parliament as other countries such as France have.

Dr Fox welcomed the “new dynamic” of the current trilateral process and called on Spain to treat Gibraltar as it does other EU partners.

An improved relationship bringing mutual benefits in terms of services to citizens would be “terrific” but there must be no question of diminution of sovereignty, he said.

Dr Fox said it was a rational approach to say that there can be no deals done between Britain and Spain that do not have the approval of the people of Gibraltar.

“It is an acceptance of reality that the Gibraltar Government has to be involved at every point of discussions. Self-determination means that free people are able to determine their own destiny. That has to be the position here,” he said.

Dr Fox, who said that for the Conservatives the Rock is an inextricable part of UK, said no one could tell UK how to deal with the internal dynamics of its own country.

He had praised Margaret Thatcher for her courage in going to war over the Falklands saying this had demonstrated the Conservatives were willing to risk all for the principle of self-determination.

Spain came under criticism for its historical attitude towards Gibraltar, but welcoming the tripartite talks he said it was important for there to be co-operation on matters of economic benefit such as the airport.

He also had a dig at former Foreign Office Minister now Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain MP by saying that being in his hands is like “having King Herod as a child minder.”

Critical of the EU he said he rejected an ever closer union and declared that union would be an abhorrent destiny. He would not be European first and British second.

Meanwhile in a statement the local Conservative Party group commented on Dr Fox having raised the topic of direct representation of Gibraltar in the UK parliament “the possibility of which has previously been rejected by both Conservative and Labour Governments in Britain”.

The local Conservatives added:

“Integration with the UK although enjoying popularity with some on the fringe of Gibraltar politics is not Official Government policy, nor is the idea supported by the Conservative Party in Gibraltar.”

Officials from the Gibraltar Conservatives will be attending the party conference in Blackpool at the beginning of next month.

Related Article and Links:

Gibraltar Conservatives

Conservative Party

22 September 2005 - Gibraltar part of UK, says Fox

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