The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia travels to Brighton this weekend in order to attend the annual conference of the UK Liberal Democrats.
This marks the start of the UK party conference season where Gibraltar will continue to have a presence at the conferences of all the main parties in the United Kingdom.
The continuation of the negotiations for the United Kingdom and Gibraltar to leave the European Union is the backdrop which will dominate these conferences. Dr Garcia will address a meeting on Sunday under the theme “Brexit 2 years on – Views from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar”. The panel will include the Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Wales Jane Dodds, the Leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Naomi Long and Member of the Scottish Parliament Alex Cole-Hamilton. This meeting will be chaired by Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake MP.
The interventions will be followed by questions. The Minister for Health and Justice Neil Costa, who will also be present, will attend separate discussions on the impact of Brexit on the legal profession and the justice system.
The Government will host the traditional Gibraltar reception which is always very well attended, and will participate in the event for diplomatic and international guests. A Gibraltar Government exhibition stand will once again serve as a focal point to spread the message to delegates, parliamentarians and to the media.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo will attend the Labour Party conference, which takes place in Liverpool on 23 – 26 September, and the Conservative Party conference which this year takes place in Birmingham from 30 September to 3rd October. There will be a Gibraltar stand and a Gibraltar Government reception at all these venues which will provide an ideal opportunity to meet Members of Parliament and the latter also UK Government Ministers.
This year, the conference of the Scottish National Party takes place in Glasgow from 7 to 9 October. This clashes with the United Nations 4th Committee debate on Gibraltar, therefore the Government will be represented by the Minister for Education and the Environment Dr John Cortes, who will host delegates to the Gibraltar reception. Minister Cortes will take the opportunity to meet with Scotland’s Education Minister during this visit.
Commenting on the start of the party conference season, the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said:
“This is an important part of the lobbying strategy of the Government as we prepare to leave the European Union. We should not forget that the final UK/EU agreement will be subject to a vote in the UK Parliament and in the European Parliament, which makes it all the more important that parliamentarians are kept informed of developments.
“Last year, the Government was represented for the first time at the DUP conference in Belfast and we intend to do so again this year.”