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Gibraltar 'Won't Be Backed Into Sovereignty Deal'

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
21 September, 2017

Gibraltar's Deputy Chief Minister, Joseph Garcia, told the recent Liberal Democrats conference in Bournemouth that "Brexit would not be a pretext for a sovereignty deal [with Spain] through the back door."

He said the future of Gibraltar can only be freely and democratically decided by the people of Gibraltar in exercise of their right to self-determination.

Conference delegates heard that in 1967, 50 years ago, the people of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain British, and in 2016 they voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union. "There is no conflict between being British and being European," said Garcia.

In response, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, pledged her party's continuing support for Gibraltar, echoing the same assurances given to Gibraltar in face-to-face meetings with Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats, and other senior party members. Gibraltar has heard the same from the leading Conservative Party and main opposition Labour.

The question of Brexit and the Gibraltar-Spain border was also raised during an international briefing for diplomats and international guests, at which the deputy chief minister noted that 96 percent of Gibraltarians had voted to remain in the European Union, and reminded those present that the Liberal Democrats manifesto for the last UK general election pledged to protect the rights of the people of Gibraltar.

Garcia also highlighted Clause 24 of the European Council's negotiating guidelines on Brexit, which purports to give Spain a veto on the application of any future UK-EU deal to Gibraltar. He called on delegates to be vigilant on this point. Garcia explained that the UK Government was negotiating for a diverse range of different territories in the British family of nations, which were scattered all over the world. He said the priorities of these territories must be taken into account.

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