Britain says only Gibraltar, UK people can decide future

People enter the British territory of Gibraltar, historically claimed by Spain, at its border with Spain, in La Linea de la Concepcion, Spain. Gibraltar is not a bargaining chip in these negotiations.

Dastis earlier on Monday said he had been "surprised" by the tone of some reactions in Britain after the European Union last week said that Spain would have a veto on extending any Brexit trade deal to Gibraltar.

About 900 people were killed in fighting in 1982 after Argentina invaded the Falklands, a British possession in the South Atlantic, and Britain sent a naval force to reclaim them. Gibraltar is going to be protected all the way because the sovereignty can not be changed without the agreement of the people of Gibraltar'.

Rear-Admiral Chris Parry, a former director of operational capability at the Ministry of Defence, said yesterday: "We could cripple Spain in the medium term and I think the Americans would probably support us too".

Spain's foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, urged Britain to remain level headed about Gibraltar's future. The Foreign Secretary's intervention came after a European Union proposal to give Madrid a veto over decisions on Gibraltar's future after the United Kingdom has left the bloc.

"The issue has been an attempt made by Spain in the draft to single out Gibraltar for negative treatment if there is. a new trade deal in future between the United Kingdom and the European Union which relates to services and which otherwise have been applicable to Gibraltar", the chief minister told the BBC.

May explained to Picardo that "we will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes", according to a transcript of the phone call released by Downing Street.

While years of tortuous negotiations await on issues that could affect trillions of dollars in trade, the Brexit debate in Britain has for three days focused on the future of the "Rock" captured by Britain in 1704 but which Spain wants back.

But sources on the continent made clear there was no softening of the EU's stance, with the remaining member states backing Spain.

Speaking to Reuters this morning, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo was critical of European Council president Donald Tusk for allowing Gibraltar's inclusion in the EU draft guidelines.

"And I'm absolutely certain that our current prime minister would show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar".

After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.

The row comes at a critical time for Gibraltar, which announced last week it will not drop its rule that 30% of a Qrops fund can be taken tax free despite a widespread industry view that HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) requires full flexible access for all qualifying schemes.

The EU inclusion of Gibraltar angered many British lawmakers, but there's little they can do, says Professor Andrew Canessa, a Gibraltar expert at the University of Essex.

  • Leroy Wright