Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let's Not Argue with Spain over Gibraltar

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Let's Not Argue with Spain over Gibraltar

Article excerpt

IT'S fair to say that no one ever predicted that Gibraltar would become an early flashpoint in the Brexit negotiations, but that has been the result of the publication of the EU guidelines on the negotiations. The text said that no Brexit agreement would apply to Gibraltar without the agreement of the Spanish. This has duly created a stir: Gibraltar's chief minister, Fabian Picardo, declared that "Gibraltar is not a bargaining chip in these negotiations". David Davis, Brexit Secretary, and Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary, at EU conferences in Madrid and Luxembourg, will now have to reiterate the principle that this is a matter for self-determination. Some of the fuss is attributable to the hyperbolic intervention of former Tory leader Michael Howard, who made an analogy with the Falklands war. But there is a signal unwillingness on all sides of the debate to cause a rift with Spain over this. MEP Daniel Hannan has called for calm today.

That said, it's worth observing that the last time the people of Gibraltar had a referendum on the issue, in 2002, they voted by 99 to one per cent against unifying with Spain. …

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