Europe Minister David Lidington repeated the UK’s commitment to the people of Gibraltar in a speech to a packed Gibraltar Day reception in the Guildhall in London. Lidington spoke of the close ties that continued to bind the City of London and the UK to Gibraltar.
He said the UK Government would continue to respect the wishes of the people of Gibraltar to remain British for as long as they wished to and added that in the long term, the British and Gibraltar Governments remained committed to a diplomatic solution to the ongoing dispute.
“Escalation would be in nobody’s interests,” he said.
Mr Lidington said Britain would stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Gibraltar and praised the “restraint and great dignity” shown by Gibraltarians in the face of Spain’s “disproportionate and unlawful” checks.
In the long term, he said the UK and Gibraltar remained committed to resume trilateral dialogue whenever Spain was ready to do so.
Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo echoed the British minister’s words and said people should know better than to try to knock the commitment of the people of Gibraltar to remain British.
“I can confidently tell you tonight that this celebration of the partnership between the United Kingdom and this City of London is growing in strength,” he told around 1000 guests packed into the Guildhall.
That partnership was growing “...in stability and growing in mutual commitment.”
CM Picardo said the political relationship with the UK was “stronger than ever.”
“And in that context, the future holds no challenge that the British people of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom cannot see off together,” he underlined.