Falklanders to hold referendum

The Falkland Islands are to hold a referendum next year on their "political status" in an attempt to bring an end to the continuing dispute with Argentina over the islands' sovereignty, their government has announced.

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PM spokesman: Argentine rhetoric 'deeply unhelpful'

by - Political Correspondent

Britain had behind-the-scenes discussions with the Falkland Islands ahead of today’s announcement on a referendum on their sovereignty, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman disclosed this afternoon. But she insisted that the decision to go-ahead with the vote was taken by the Islanders themselves.

Admitting the result was certain to be a yes vote, she said: “ It sends a very clear message to the world what their position is on their right to self-determination.” Recent rhetoric from the Argentine government had been “deeply unhelpful”, she added.

Asked whether the Prime Minister would be campaigning, she said his views on the issue were very clear but she didn’t envisage him taking part.

PM says he will 'respect and defend' outcome of Falklands referendum

The Prime Minister has said Britain would "respect and defend" the outcome of the referendum held by the Falkland Islands Government.

David Cameron has said he would "respect" outcome of Falklands referendum Credit: Reuters/Stephen Hird

Mr Cameron said: “I have always said that it is up to the Falkland Islanders themselves to choose whether they want to be British and that the world should listen to their views.

"It’s absolutely right that the Islanders have today set out how they intend to make their voices heard once more. And Britain will be resolute in supporting their choice."

Foreign Office Minister: Falklands referendum 'truly significant'

Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne, the first British minister to visit the Falkland in an official capacity since 2008
Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne, the first British minister to visit the Falkland in an official capacity since 2008 Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne has welcomed the announcement of a referendum in the Falklands on the "political status" of the islands. Mr Browne, who arrived in the Falklands yesterday said:

"Only the Falkland Islands people can determine how they wish to be governed, so I very much support this initiative by the Falkland Islands government. Indeed, I believe this referendum is a truly significant moment".

Falklands Assembly chairman: 'Argentinian claims are absurd'

Gavin Short, chairman of the Legislative Assembly for the Falkland Islands has said they will be holding a referendum to show that they are "certain" about their future. Mr Short said:

I have no doubt that the people of the Falklands wish for the islands to remain a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom.

We certainly have no desire to be ruled by the government in Buenos Aires, a fact that is immediately obvious to anyone who has visited the islands and heard our views.

And the Argentine government deploys misleading rhetoric that wrongly implies that we have no strong views or even that we are being held hostage by the UK military. This is simply absurd.

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William Hague welcomes Falklands referendum

Welcoming the Falkland Islands Government’s announcement that it will hold a referendum on its political status, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

The British Government has been consistent in its view that the future of the Falklands can only be determined by the people who live there. So the Prime Minister and I support this initiative to demonstrate – without doubt – the definitive view of the Falkland Islands people. In a region that rightly prizes democracy and human rights, it is entirely appropriate that the Islanders can express this fundamental right...

I hope very much that Argentina, and indeed the whole of the international community, joins the UK in listening carefully to what they have to say.

Falklands Government: Referendum to send a strong message to Argentina

The announcement that Falklanders would hold a referendum on their "political status" comes as the islands prepare to mark the 30th anniversary of their liberation.

Falkland Islands.
Falkland Islands. Credit: ITV News

Three decades after Margaret Thatcher sent 27,000 troops and more than 100 ships to repel the Argentinian invaders, Buenos Aires continues to set its sights on claiming the territory it calls Las Malvinas.

But the Falkland Islands government said it hopes a referendum will send a firm message to Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner that islanders want to remain British.

Tory MP: Falklands referendum 'extremely important decision'

Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Falkland Islands, said the referendum was an "extremely important decision" that would determine "once and for all" the wishes of the islands' inhabitants.

He added that he expected a "very similar result" to that in a referendum held by Gibraltar in 2002, in which the idea of Britain sharing sovereignty with Spain was rejected by 98.5% of residents.

It will make it clear once and for all what the Falklands Islands want for their own destiny. I hope that the Argentinian government will respect the democratic wishes of the islanders.

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