Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has welcomed statements by Brexit Minister David Davis on Gibraltar.
Mr Davis told a House of Commons select committee that he would be “loath” to seek a special agreement for Gibraltar or Northern Ireland in a Brexit negotiation.
But he did not rule out such agreement and also acknowledged the fact that Gibraltar had a “differentiated status” within the EU to that of the UK.
Mr Picardo said the minister’s statements were “entirely in keeping” with the views put by the Gibraltar Government to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union.
“In particular, Mr Davis was clear in recognising the distinctive status of Gibraltar within the EU and not ruling out the potential for a differentiated status for Gibraltar if necessary,” Mr Picardo said.
“For that reason, Mr Davis’ evidence before this Commons Committee and mine before the House of Lords’ Select Committee has put the same material and ideas in substance before two of the most relevant arms of the Westminster Parliament at this important time in our history and in the decision making before the commencement of the Brexit negotiations and the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.”
During his evidence, Mr Davis said the primary issue with Gibraltar— “not the only issue, but the primary issue” — was sovereignty and “the argument with Spain” over sovereignty. On this, he added, the UK had a firm position.
“We have made it very plain that we will always respect the wishes of the people of Gibraltar,” he told the Committee.
“I used to be Gibraltar Minister. It is written into my blood.”
Mr Picardo said this statement was “of particular importance” to Gibraltar.
“That is as clear and unequivocal a statement of support as we have ever heard from a UK Minister and its explicit nature is particularly welcome at this time and in this context and should serve to dissuade any third parties from thinking that there might be any prospect of a change of view or any ‘wobble’ in London in respect of full, undiluted and enduring British Sovereignty over Gibraltar,” he said.