Brexit will be “a multi-faceted deal” that will include “differentiated” outcomes for different sectors of industry and parts of the UK, including for Gibraltar, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in an interview on BBC One.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Mr Picardo said Gibraltar had received a different settlement to the UK when it entered the the EU and “that must be the case” when Brexit negotiations are carried out.
“I think it is going to be a differentiated deal for different sectors of industry, for different parts of the United Kingdom,” the Chief Minister said.
“It’s going to be a multi-faceted deal and one of those facets has to be the facet that applies to Gibraltar.”
Mr Picardo was also firm that Gibraltar would not yield in its determination to remain British, even in the face of the Brexit challenge.
“It’s a red, white and blue Brexit for us,” he said.
“We’re not going to change our view on whether we stay British or not.”
“We’re going to continue to stay British, even if that seems like a very hard choice now.”
Mr Picardo was asked by interviewer Nick Robinson – Andrew Marr was away this week – whether Spain might try to scupper a Brexit deal “at one minute to midnight” as a last-minute tactic to push for joint sovereignty over Gibraltar.
The Chief Minister replied that Spain’s former Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, had “played that card” from the outset.
“Gibraltar has to thank him for having been so open and clear in the way that Spain was going to focus the issue under his period in the [Spanish] foreign office,” Mr Picardo said, adding “there is a risk that Spain could fail to be sensible in its approach.”
“Because remember that it’s as much in the interests of the region around Gibraltar and Andalucia to have a Gibraltar that continues to provide jobs,” he said.
“If they play that card, they will be doing the things that they’ve done before on aviation and in other areas of the European acquis applied to Gibraltar.”
— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) December 11, 2016
Mr Picardo reinforced his points during an intervention on another flagship political programme, the weekly show hosted by Dermot Murnaghan on Sky News.
“We have to accept, and I think it’s right that the Prime Minister should insist, that there’s going to be one negotiation, one United Kingdom approach to this,” the Chief Minister said.
“But of course, the United Kingdom is made up of various nations, it’s made up of different industries, it’s made up of different interest groups, so that negotiation is going to result in one UK deal, but a UK deal is not going to be binary, it’s going to be multi-faceted and differentiated for different industries and for different parts of the UK.”
“For Gibraltar, we have to have that multi-faceted deal provide the facet that is applicable to us.”
Mr Picardo told the Mr Murnaghan that Gibraltar accepted the result of the Brexit referendum, even if it had voted almost unanimously for Remain.
Within the context of a Brexit negotiation, he said the key issues for Gibraltar were freedom of movement “in the sense that it applies to Gibraltar” and access to the single market.
“We’re talking really about the liberty of being able to travel in and out of Gibraltar in the day,” he said.
“Freedom of movement in Gibraltar doesn’t imply immigration like it implies in the United Kingdom.”
“We’re not an island and that’s why the freedom of movement issue is so relevant.”
— Murnaghan (@SkyMurnaghan) December 11, 2016
The interviews on Sunday morning coincided with news of a fresh legal challenge to the British Government’s Brexit plans.
Campaigners in the UK have instructed lawyers to begin a legal challenge over whether leaving the EU means automatic withdrawal from the single market.
The British Influence think tank wants a judicial review of the Government’s legal position on membership of the wider European Economic Area which forms the internal trading bloc.
The think-tank believes leaving the EU does not mean quitting the EEA which extends the single market’s tariff-free trade in goods to countries like Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
A legal challenge could result in the British Parliament being given the final say on EEA membership.
A spokesman for the think tank said: “There is no need for a hard Brexit and there is no mandate for a hard Brexit.”
The group believes Britain does not need to quit the single market to control immigration, end payments to EU coffers or return powers to Parliament.
It also says voters did not decide to leave the trading arrangement when they backed Brexit in the June 23 referendum.
Group chairman Peter Wilding said: “This is not stopping Brexit, this is shaping it. The country demands a win-win, smart Brexit, not a lose-lose ideological hard Brexit which will damage the UK, damage Europe and for which there is no need and no mandate.”
Open Britain, which is campaigning to keep Britain in the single market, said polling it commissioned shows half of Leave voters are not prepared to be a penny worse off as result of quitting the EU.
Labour former leader Ed Miliband, a supporter of the group, said: “The Government will rightly be subject to an almighty backlash from Leave voters if it makes decisions about our economic future that make them far poorer and leaves less money for public services.
“Having voted for a better future, this would be the ultimate betrayal. The onus, therefore, is on the Government to ensure a Brexit that is fair to working people.
“Both Remain and Leave voters share the desire to put our economy first. The Government must protect our economic future and address the deep concerns about our unequal country that drove Brexit. Parliament and the country will hold them to account in the weeks and months ahead.”