The Gibraltar Chronicle reports that Britain’s Labour Party this week gave an ‘absolute’ commitment to uphold the right of the people of Gibraltar to self-determination. Speaking at a reception organized by the Gibraltar Government on the fringe of the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Hilary Benn, the shadow Foreign Secretary, was unequivocal with his words.
“We absolutely as the Labour Party uphold the right of the people of Gibraltar to self-determination,” he told guests.
“Because there is a natural hunger, a thirst on the part of human kind to be able to take decisions about how we live and how we run society and how we deal with problems that we face and how we fulfill our aspirations for a better future.”
“It is what has motivated people throughout human history and the Labour Party and the Labor movement has been at the forefront, both in the fight against colonialism and in the modern age to support people who are trying to resolve their differences not by guns but by argument.”
Mr Benn also referred to the agreements that have been breached by Spain and said that any discussion of these had to be in the trilateral forum so that the people of Gibraltar would have the final say on anything agreed.
The shadow Foreign Secretary made a very clear case on Labour supporting the UK and Gibraltar voting to remain in the European Union.
He said that the UK will soon face the most important decision it has made in 40 years about Britain, and Gibraltar’s place in the world. Mr Benn said the Labor movement is solidly in support of Europe.
“The future must be based on partnership, collaboration, working together, binding people together by common economic interests and common value and I look forward to standing alongside everybody else when that referendum comes,” he said.
Mr. Benn was in part responding to Joe Bossano, Gibraltar's Minister for Economic Development, who addressed the reception and reminded Labour Party members of the special relationship that has existed since the creation of the GSLP between the two sister parties.
Mr Bossano also reflected on how UK Labour has always been fully committed to the defense of the right to self-determination of the peoples of all the non self-governing territories in accordance with Chapter 11 of the UN Charter, which covers all such territories including Gibraltar.
In inviting Mr Benn to reply, Mr. Bossano said: “I have to say particularly to Hilary that although his dad was always a staunch defender of decolonization and self-determination, he did not become, I regret to say, a fanatical defender of Gibraltar and the Gibraltarians.”
“But that was because I caught him at a later age, but as I have caught Hilary at a younger age I am sure I can be more successful with Hilary than I was with him.”
Minister Bossano meets with Jeremy Corbyn
As well as hosting the Gibraltar Government Recepti on, Joe Bossano has had the opportunity of participating in some of the activities at the Labour conference.
As part of the South West Region European Parliament Constituency he addressed their reception which was then followed by an address from Labour Party Leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
Following this Joe had the opportunity of talking t o Jeremy about matters of mutual interest.
Joe was also invited to address a Northern Ireland meeting which dealt with the issue of the UK referendum on whether the UK would remain in the European Union.
The Northern Ireland meeting was opened by the Shad ow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Vernon Coaker, and all the political parties with a presence in Northern Ireland were represented.