The Rock 12th April 2017

It is a couple of weeks since the European Council issued draft guidelines on Brexit that effectively sought to give Spain a right of veto over any trade deals involving Gibraltar and the dust has superficially settled.

The Rock has been British for three hundred years and although the people of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain within the European Union they have also voted similarly overwhelmingly to remain a part of the United Kingdom. Unless ant until they vote in a referendum to leave the UK and become part of Spain they are as much a part of Britain as the Falkland Islands - and to that extent at least Lord ( Michael) Howard was right to make the comparison.

What has been generally overlooked, though, is that the EC Draft guidelines make not one jot of difference to the negotiating position: the fact is that each of twenty seven remains European Union Member States will have the right of veto over any Brexit final deal that is struck.

Spain has staked an early claim but only a very dewey-eyed optimist would dare to believe that others will not follow. There are tricky times ahead and Mrs. May will need all of her consummate skill to deliver the agreement that we would all like to see at the end of the negotiations.


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