As a Member of the European Parliament, who represents both the South West Counties & Gibraltar, Dr Julia Reid was invited by the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, to help celebrate Gibraltar National Day, which took place on the 10th of September.
The following week, during the opening speech at the UKIP National Conference in Bournemouth, Dr Reid told the audience that: “the prospect of a Brexit has come as an unwelcome shock to the majority of Gibraltarians”.
Dr Reid described their concerns as being “understandable”, given that in the wake of the UK's vote to exit the European Union, Spain renewed calls for joint sovereignty of Gibraltar; with Spain’s acting foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, saying that the referendum result has significantly advanced the prospect of a Spanish flag flying on the rock of Gibraltar.
However, despite the people of Gibraltar voting overwhelmingly in favour to remain part of the European Union, the results of the EU referendum haven’t changed the way the Gibraltarian people feel about their British identity.
In a show of support for Gibraltar’s right to self-determination, Dr Reid said “The message is very clear; the Gibraltarians are proud to be British, and they won’t hand over their sovereignty to Spain in exchange for full access to the single-market”.
“The vast majority recognise, that in the same way they do not want to share their sovereignty with Spain, the majority of the British people do not want to share their sovereignty with 27 other member states”.
Referencing the Chief Minister’s National Day message “If Brexit means Brexit, then British means British”, Dr Julia Reid closed her speech by urging all members of UKIP to “reaffirm our party’s commitment to the people of Gibraltar and to continue to support them in their desire and determination to remain independent, self-governing and British.”