The Voice of
Press Release

3rd. JUNE 2004.

During the course of the week The VOGG had substantial discussions with Glyn Ford, Labour, MEP candidate and Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary, Michael Ancram MP. Thanks are in order to the GSLP and Conservatives Abroad for providing The Group with the respective opportunities. The SDGG were also present on both occasions.

Glyn Ford was, first and foremost, thanked for his stalwart support over the years and it is hoped that, if elected, with or without the Gibraltar vote, he will continue to do so. The VOGG then raised the 'usual' arguments on the Brussels Process and its effects on the elected MEPs' room for manoeuvre within The European Parliament. It was stressed that all seven must forget their own party political squabbles and defend The Rock as a tight unit. Mr. Ford committed himself to the defence of the Gibraltarians, irrespective of the Labour Party's official policy. Finally he suggested that the elected MEPs should report, in person, to The House of Assembly, at regular intervals. This, The VOGG fully endorses and calls on the elected members of The House to approve such a procedure.

The meeting with Mr. Ancram was an opportunity to clear the air after the 'incidents' during Michael Howard's recent visit. In a lively exchange, between members of The Group, and Mr. Ancram, it was clearly pointed out that past decisions cannot be forgotten that easily, when these were the forebearers of all Gibraltar's present predicament. To persist with a process that is dictated by the 'Spanish Dimension' is not acceptable.

Mr. Ancram's commitments on sovereignty negotiations are comforting but fall short of a total rejection of The Brussels Agreement. The Conservatives are confident that the Spaniards will, in the long-run, be convinced to deal with matters of mutual interest, leaving the issue(s) of sovereignty to the side.

The VOGG, along with all Gibraltarians, at the receiving end of 50 years of attrition, do not see this prospering. All in all, it was a productive meeting, ending with The Group advising the Shadow Foreign Secretary that his and his party's performance will be closely watched. Any deviation and The VOGG will act accordingly.

The VOGG has now talked to the three main political parties, plus The Greens and feel that there is genuine undertaking by all to support Gibraltar. Therefore and once again, it calls on Gibraltarians to turn out in large numbers and vote as they see fit, ignoring the 'confusion', that is being peddled by some. However, after the election, the successful candidates will have to prove that they deserved the Gibraltar vote. By the next election everyone here will know who did what, why, and for whom.

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