This week I was honoured to be in Gibraltar with Lord Rogan to participate in their National Day celebrations — which were an enthusiastic and colourful expression of their British national identity — and to meet with local politicians to gain a better understanding of what life is like for Gibraltar and its people, as Brexit approaches.
I was part of a delegation of UK politicians and met with a number of key local figures including the chief minister Fabian Picardo.
I heard first-hand how they are preparing for the impact of Brexit.
They are confident they are ready to deal with any eventuality, it’s a pity Northern Ireland doesn’t have a local administration in place to prepare in the same way.
We also visited the border crossing to Spain with the deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia, where he and the Gibraltar police explained to us how they too are well prepared.
Gibraltar has a population of 30,000 people and has had to entirely restructure the local economy which was once heavily reliant on the Ministry of Defence and Naval Dockyards.
But these are no more, and now the main economic drivers are financial services, tourism and online gaming.
Gibraltar is an economic success story and is a prime example of what can be achieved when politicians and people pull together in pursuit of a common goal.
Robin Swann MLA,
Ulster Unionist Party leader