The veto granted by the EU to Spain over Gibraltar’s inclusion in a Brexit deal is “monstrous and wrong” and the UK Government is right to oppose it, a Conservative MP told the House of Commons yesterday afternoon as the UK Parliament broke for its summer recess.
In one of the last statements heard in Westminster before the summer break, Tory MP Bob Stewart, the secretary of the all-party Gibraltar group in the Commons, reflected on Brexit and Gibraltar.
He underlined the Rock’s positive economic impact on the neighbouring Campo de Gibraltar and said it was vital to secure “easy border controls” after Brexit to ensure continued border fluidity.
“London is absolutely right to stand firm with Gibraltar and reject any notion or proposal such as that in the European Commission’s…guidelines that Spain could have any veto over what happens in Gibraltar,” Mr Stewart said.
“This is monstrous and wrong.”
Mr Stewart highlighted too Gibraltar’s desire to remain British and said the UK was duty-bound to uphold that British sovereignty and protect Gibraltar’s interests.
“The people of Gibraltar have the right to self-determination and they’ve made clear their will to remain British and prosper under the Union Jack,” he said.
“Gibraltar is family. Rule Britannia. No other British subjects understand this phrase more than Gibraltarians.”
And he acknowledged too that Gibraltar was working closely to deliver a smooth withdrawal from the EU, even though it had opposed Brexit and voted overwhelmingly to stay in the bloc.
“Although Gibraltar’s superb Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, leads a territory that voted 96% to remain in the European Union, he has pragmatically accepted the result of the referendum,” Mr Stewart told the handful of MPs who were still in the chamber to hear his intervention at the of yesterday’s session in the Commons.
“In truth, Gibraltar has taken Brexit on the chin, and now it is working closely with London to ensure a smooth withdrawal from the European Union.”