The GSD encourages people to vote at the European Parliament elections on Thursday 23 May and to do so forparties that clearly advocate remaining in the EU or support a People’s Vote.

The reality is that the UK’s participation in elections to the EU Parliament [and therefore Gibraltar’s] has only been made inevitable because of the severe divisions on how and whether to exit the EU which is evident in the UK Parliament.

It is unclear at this stage whether any MEPs elected for the UK will take up their seats and if so for how long as the current BREXIT end date is 31 October 2019. However as events over the last few months have proved there are twists and turns in this political soap opera that may still deliver what was previously an unforeseeable result. We must continue to hope for the best and plan for the worst.

GSD Leader, Keith Azopardi said: “The people of Gibraltar overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU. The GSD have long had a policy that if BREXIT becomes inevitable we should make the most of it and ensure we get the best transitional deal possible and the best future relationship with the EU. We are not yet past the point of no return, however, and other options remain on the table in a very deadlocked UK Parliament that could either avert BREXIT altogether or provide for a softer exit. In that context the GSD was the first political party in Gibraltar to back the moveto have a People’s Vote with the options of choosing between the flawed Withdrawal Agreement and remaining in the EU.

We must remember that getting the right to vote in European elections was a hard won right for Gibraltar and required our taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights in the 1990s. We should not abstain from participating because we are dissatisfied with the EU or BREXIT. Whatever its failings it is still better for our economic and political future for us to remain in the EU. We should view this as an opportunity to send a strong message as a united Gibraltar.

We therefore urge the people of Gibraltar to send a strong signal of where we stand as a community and support political parties that have a clear commitment to remaining in the EU or a People’s Vote. There is no guarantee of whatwill happen in the next few months but we must continue to do what we can towards the outcome that best makes sense for Gibraltar. So we would like to see high participation and a clear message.”

So far the Liberal Democrats and Change UK have come out clearly for both remaining and for a People’s Vote. TheLabour Party position is more nuanced.

On a separate point we condemn the inflammatory, racist, sexist and intolerant remarks of Carl Benjamin the prospective UKIP candidate for Gibraltar. That kind of language and attitude is repugnant, unacceptable and totally out of place with what we want for our society in Gibraltar.