On Monday, October 4, the Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC, concluded an intense series of engagements after his 24-hour attendance at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. The Gibraltar Government hosted its annual reception for MPs and supporters of the Rock, which was packed to capacity.
In addition to the support expressed both in his main speech to the plenary of the conference as well as in his address to the Gibraltar reception, Phillip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, held a lengthy private meeting with the chief minister at which current issues were discussed including
Gibraltar’s concerns at the implications of the in/out vote on the EU and the importance of the
single market to the Rock. Mr Picardo extended an invitation to Mr Hammond to visit Gibraltar
when the opportunity arises.
Minister for Europe, David Lidington, similarly met privately with Mr Picardo to discuss Gibraltar issues and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, also met with Mr Picardo. In a later session with Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for the Armed Forces, the chief minister highlighted the importance of commencing preliminary discussions on a post-2017 agreement regarding job protection and security for Ministry of Defence Locally Employed Civilians (or LECs) in Gibraltar.
He met with both Ashley Fox MEP, leader of the Conservative delegation in the European Parliament and Julie Girling MEP. Both are MEPs for the South West Region and Gibraltar.
Before flying out from Manchester, the chief minister sat on a Friends of the British Overseas Territories panel event with Roger Edwards MLA, from the Falkland Islands Government, and Andrew Rosindell MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Overseas Territories.
The Chief Minister said: “It’s been a hectic 24-hours but well worth it for Gibraltar. I have met three senior ministers and both David Lidington and Penny Mordaunt, who hold important briefs for Gibraltar.”