The Gibraltar Constitution
The 1969 Constitution was the outcome of the Constitutional Conference chaired by Lord Shepherd which lasted from 16th to 24th July. The uniqueness of the agreed constitution lay in its division of powers. In most British colonial constitutions the powers of the Governor are defined: the local government is responsible for all else. The reverse was to be the case in Gibraltar. The local government’s powers were defined in a ‘List of Defined Domestic Matters’ for which it was to be responsible but which excluded anything that might have a conceivable impact on the security of the fortress.
For the Gibraltarians, the most important aspect of the 1969 Constitution was the crucial preamble:
"Whereas Gibraltar is part of Her Majesty’s dominions and Her Majesty’s Government have given assurances to the people of Gibraltar that Gibraltar will remain part of Her Majesty’s dominions unless and until an Act of Parliament otherwise provides, and furthermore that Her Majesty’s Government will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes".
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