HC Deb 12 February 1997 vol 290 cc331-2
10. Mr. David Evans

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had about the future of Gibraltar. [13963]

Mr. David Davis

My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary regularly meets the Chief Minister of Gibraltar to discuss matters concerning Gibraltar's future. The last such meeting was in London on 18 November. He also met the Spanish Foreign Minister in Madrid on 22 January under the Brussels process to explore the scope for enhanced co-operation between Gibraltar and Spain.

Mr. Evans

I thank the Minister for that reply. Would he take this opportunity to assure the British people and the Gibraltarians that while we have a Conservative Government the Union Jack will continue to fly over Gibraltar and that we will not raise the white flag? Does he also agree that, if that lot over there ever got into power, they would give away Scotland, Wales, the sovereign and this Parliament to the bureaucrats in Brussels and it would not be long before they gave away the rock and its monkeys to Spain, but it takes a monkey to recognise one?

Mr. Davis

My hon. Friend puts his point much better than I ever could. With respect to his substantive question on the sovereignty of Gibraltar, we gave an undertaking in the 1969 constitution—which this Government will always stand by—that we will never give up the sovereignty of Gibraltar without the free and fully given consent of the Gibraltarian people. We will always stand by that undertaking.

Mr. Mackinlay

I support the Minister on the principles of national self-determination for the people of Gibraltar, but may we also consider their democratic deficit? They are citizens of the European Union, but they have no representation in the European Parliament or in this place. Is there not a case for the people of Gibraltar having at least some limited representation here, as occurs with comparable territories of the United States and France?

Mr. Davis

I recognise the hon. Gentleman's commitment to Gibraltar and to its people. The question about the European Parliament is not easy to answer because, with 30,000 people, Gibraltar is less than one tenth the size of a British constituency. With respect to his other proposal, I do not think that there is much to be advanced by this country's copying the constitutions of France or the United States.

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