The Foreign Office will fly the Gibraltar flag on Monday, National Day in its building along Whitehall. Foreign Office ministers David Lidington and Mark Simmonds, respectively the ministers for Europe and the Overseas Territories, have said they welcome the raising of the Gibraltar Flag over the FCO in Whitehall to mark Gibraltar Day.
“From now on, the flags of each UK Overseas Territory will be flown over the FCO one day every year, to mark a significant day in each of their respective histories,” said an F&CO spokesman.
“I send my greetings and best wishes to all Gibraltarians ahead of Gibraltar National Day. It is a day to celebrate the people of Gibraltar, their community and identity. It is fitting that Gibraltar’s flag should be flown annually in London to mark this occasion,” said Mr Lidington, who has responsibility for the EU and Gibraltar.
Simmonds said he was pleased that the FCO will be “celebrating this new era of positive engagement between the UK and the Territories by flying their flags over our building in London. The Government is determined to show our commitment to this relationship in a year which has seen a number of important landmarks, including the publication of the White Paper”.
On 14 June, the flag of the Falkland Islands was flown over the FCO, 10 Downing Street and the Department for Communities and Local Government to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Islands’ liberation. The flags of all Territories were flown as part of the Diamond Jubilee pageant, and will be featured in future ceremonies of State.
The UK and the 14 Territories share a special and unique bond, with shared historical links that go back more than four centuries. In his foreword to the White Paper, the Prime Minister affirmed that the Territories remain ‘an integral part of Britain’s life and history’, an F&CO spokesman said.
There are fourteen UK Overseas Territories, eleven of which have permanent populations:
Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands are all in the Caribbean. Bermuda is in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The Falkland Islands and the Territory of St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha are located in the South Atlantic. Pitcairn, with a population of less than 60 people, is the only Territory in the Pacific.
Gibraltar is the only Territory in the EU. The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekilia in Cyprus are an Overseas Territory but are not formally part of the EU.
The remaining Territories, i.e. the British Antarctic Territory, the British Indian Ocean Territory, and South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands (in the South Atlantic) do not have permanent populations.
The Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekilia will not be included in the regular flag flying programme, but will continue to be represented by the Union Jack flag.