13 SEP 2012

Jack Lopresti MP in Gibraltar for MOD Briefing and National Day

Local MP Jack Lopresti has returned from a Parliamentary Delegation to Gibraltar. The Delegation was invited for meetings with the MOD and the Gibraltarian Government. Mr Lopresti serves as the Secretary to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Gibraltar.

Amongst other meetings with Gibraltarian Government Ministers and officials Jack met with Commodore Tom Karsten, the Commander of British Forces for Gibraltar to receive a briefing on the MOD's current operations and duties on "The Rock". Jack also met with the current Governor of Gibraltar Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns KCB, CBE, ADC.

The Delegation visited in a period that has seen increased tensions between the Gibraltarian Government and the Spanish Government over a fishing dispute that has widened into a debate over Gibraltarian Territorial waters. On his return to the UK Jack organised a meeting with SW Region MEP Ashley Fox to see what assistance Ashley can give in resolving the dispute through his work in the European Parliament.

The UK considers Gibraltar as a crucial strategic asset which has recently proven its importance once again in last year's Operation Ellamy. Gibraltar is also a key asset with regards to anti-smuggling and anti-terrorism operations on the Mediterranean.

Mr Lopresti, as part of the Delegation, also participated in the 20th National Day celebrations.

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Jack Lopresti: My hon. Friend is talking about the NATO context. Yes, Spain ought to be a friendly country and an ally. We are duty-bound and treaty-bound by article 5 to come to its defence. If it were attacked by an external enemy, or any enemy, we would potentially send our people into harm’s way to defend it.