Withdrawal from the European Union will not affect the protection the UK provides for its overseas territories, the chair of Vote Leave, Gisela Stuart, has told MPs in the House of Commons.
“Our overseas territories deserve our protection and they will continue to get it,” Ms Stuart said, according to the transcript of the final evidence session of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s inquiry into the implications of a Brexit decision.
The Labour MP was answering questions during an oral evidence session in the Lower House on the subject of the cost and benefits of EU membership for the UK’s role in the world.
Asked if she was concerned about the impact of a British withdrawal on Britain’s overseas territories, she said: “The United Kingdom successfully defended the Falklands on its own. It has defended Gibraltar on its own. I don’t think that whether or not we are in the EU will affect that.”
However, a very different was expresses from the Falklands and Gibraltar governments in a report from the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee made up of Leave and Remain supporting MPs .
The Committee had received evidence from the Governments of the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar. Both argued against UK withdrawal from the EU for economic and political reasons.
The Falklands Islands Government said it received considerable certainty and support from EU member states because of the provisions of the Treaty of Rome. A Brexit, it believes, might encourage Argentina to be much more aggressive in its approach.
The submission from the Gibraltar Government asserted the overwhelming majority of the people of Gibraltar, will vote to remain in the EU. It also highlighted the importance of the EU to its economy, and expressed concern that Spain would take advantage of a UK exit from the EU to further undermine, isolate and exclude Gibraltar from the European mainstream.
The Committee’s Chairman, Crispin Blunt said the referendum offers the British people a once-in-a-generation opportunity to chart a course for the UK’s role in the world. Voters, he says, should consider not only the short term consequences of staying or leaving but the long term opportunities and challenges.
In related news MP Gisela Stuart has urged the Home Office to bar French far right leader Marine Le Pen from visiting Britain.
Vote Leave chairman Stuart said Ms Le Pen held divisive and inflammatory views and her visit would not be conducive to the public good. The president of the French National Front, who backs Brexit, is expected to travel to the UK in the next few weeks.
Ms Le Pen has said she intends to speak in favor of Britain leaving the EU and wants France, like the UK, to hold a referendum on leaving.
In a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May, Ms Stuart said the National Front leader has previously made many divisive and inflammatory comments, including comparing Muslims praying in the street to the Nazi occupation of France.
Accordingly, I urge you to exercise your powers under immigration legislation to refuse her admission into the country if and when she attempts to visit the UK underlined MP Stuart.