Introduction

The MaceOn 2nd January 2007, the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006 came into effect. The Order restyles the House of Assembly as the Gibraltar Parliament.

The Gibraltar Parliament is the heart of democracy in Gibraltar and the rock foundation of the sovereignty of the Gibraltarians, that is, “Gibraltarians” in its widest sense since not only the indigenous but British inhabitants are enfranchised.

The 1969 Sovereignty Preamble remains in the new 2006 Constitution, as follows:

"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".

The Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006 further states:

"And whereas the people of Gibraltar have in a referendum held on 30th November 2006 freely approved and accepted the Constitution annexed to this Order which gives the people of Gibraltar that degree of self-government which is compatible with British sovereignty of Gibraltar and with the fact that the United Kingdom remains fully responsible for Gibraltar’s external relations".

The building which houses the Parliament was erected by public subscription in 1817 by the Exchange Committee. This was the first prominent representative body of the civilian population pursuing civil rights in a predominantly fortress environment and it also became the forum of petitions to the Governor. It later became the Exchange and Commercial Library. In 1950, the Legislative Council took up residence in the building where it remained until its merger with the City Council in 1969, to become the House of Assembly established by the Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969.