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Chronicle secures release of secret documents

The Chronicle has won a partial victory in its nine-month battle to force the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to release Special Branch police reports dating back to the time of the 1967 referendum.

In November last year, the Chronicle reported that a Freedom of Information request to release the papers had been turned down by the FCO, which warned of the potential “damage” to bilateral relations between the UK and Gibraltar should the papers be made public.

However following a four-month long internal review of the original decision, encompassing FCO officials in London and Gibraltar, the FCO concluded last week that “some of the material on the retained file can now be released”.

In reversing its earlier decision, the FCO said it had taken into account arguments advanced by the Chronicle, specifically that Special Branch material from the same era was already in the public domain and had been available at The National Archives in Kew since 2001.

The Chronicle was able to successfully argue that a 1970 file containing reports compiled by the Gibraltarian Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head of Special Branch Fred Llambias was likely to contain similar material to the closed file.



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