Simon Hughes MP expresses strong support for Gibraltar following latest incident at sea
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia held a meeting this morning with the Deputy Leader of the UK Liberal Democrats, Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP.
The Government briefed Mr Hughes on the latest incident which took place on Friday where Civil Guards arrested and detained two Gibraltarian sports fishermen inside British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. The delays at the border were also discussed. Mr Hughes expressed strong support for Gibraltar in relation to these matters and pledged to raise them with the relevant Ministers on his return to the United Kingdom.
A number of other issues were also discussed, some of which are at a very preliminary stage whilst others are more advanced.
These issues included Mr Hughes, idea of closer and more frequent interaction between Ministers from Gibraltar and Ministers from the United Kingdom as well as the holding of regular scheduled meetings in order to improve further the relationship between the two Governments. There were also several other suggestions made during the meeting for improving coordination between Whitehall departments on Gibraltar-related matters.
The meeting with the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister was followed by an address and interchange of views with the Cabinet which lasted nearly an hour. This covered the profile of Gibraltar at a political level, the setting up of a University in Gibraltar, equality issues and other matters.
“I will take back a clear message to UK Ministers: Britain must be tough and unbending in insisting that Spain respects international law,” said Simon Hughes MP
Speaking after his meetings today with the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister of Gibraltar, and after attending the Gibraltar Cabinet, Mr Hughes added,
“It has been excellent to be back in Gibraltar to see the progress made by the Government since their election in December. Following the excellent Jubilee celebrations in Gibraltar and London, and on the eve of the London Olympics, there is a visible sense of pride and enjoyment at the strong, enduring links between Gibraltar and the UK. Many important, immediate to long term issues were discussed, and I welcome the positive and constructive dialogue which I am sure will continue on a regular basis.”
“But my immediate message to my UK Ministerial colleagues on my return to London this week is that Britain must be tough and unbending in insisting that Spain respects international law. Incidents like that last Friday night are unacceptable. The UK Government must make sure that the Spanish Government gets this message at the highest level. Madrid must understand that unwarranted interference with lawful activities by Gibraltarians should stop once and for all. Spain is a civilised country with a proud history. It does itself no favours in the international community when provocative and unjustified actions are taken like that in Gibraltar waters on Friday night.”