A former Conservative defence secretary said Prime Minister David Cameron must make clear that the sovereignty of Gibraltar “will not be a question” even if the UK votes to leave the European Union.
Dr Liam Fox said “even the vaguest inference” that Britain might hand over sovereignty to Spain in the event of a Brexit “goes beyond acceptable limits”.
The Brexit advocate was speaking after Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said last month that leaving the EU would ‘seriously impair’ the British Government’s ability to stand up for Gibraltar.
“I think the one thing you never do in any campaign is to play with security,” Dr Fox told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
“The sovereignty of the people of Gibraltar has always been guaranteed by the United Kingdom.”
“To pretend in any way, shape or form that that policy would change whether we are in our outside the European Union is inexcusable.”
“The only way we can deal with that is for the Prime Minister to say the sovereignty of Gibraltar will not be a question we will tolerate inside or outside the European Union.”
“Their security is guaranteed by the United Kingdom. I think we need that clarity.”
“Even the vaguest inference that we might hand over the sovereignty of Gibraltar to Spain if we are not inside the European Union is completely unacceptable.”
“I think there are limits to what you can and cannot say in any campaign that goes way beyond acceptable limits.”