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Gibraltar’s ‘most important partnership’ is with UK, Picardo tells Sky

Gibraltar will always opt for a closer relationship with the United Kingdom if the choice is between the UK and the European Union, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said yesterday.

Mr Picardo was speaking to Adam Boulton of Sky News yesterday as part of a wide-ranging interview which also covered the Grace 1 saga.

It was put to Mr Picardo that public opinion in Gibraltar was shifting towards feeling that if the choice was between being in the UK and outside the EU, or being in the EU with a closer relationship with Spain, people would opt for the latter.

But Mr Picardo said there was no evidence of such a shift, adding: “Come hell or high-water, the people of Gibraltar will always choose the former.”

“We will always choose a closer relationship with the United Kingdom if the choice is between the UK or the EU.”

“That’s the reality on the streets in Gibraltar, it’s the reality of what we carry in our hearts and in our veins.”

“Our most important partnership is our partnership with the United Kingdom as part of the British family of nations.”

Asked by Mr Boulton how worried he was by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, Mr Picardo reiterated that the Gibraltar Government believes the best outcome for Gibraltar is to remain in the European Union.

But he said the Gibraltar Government had accepted the democratic vote of the British people to leave the EU.

“My own view is that that is now a decision which is three years’ old and is rather stale,” the Chief Minister said.

“But there is a Government of the United Kingdom and our relationship with the British Government is based on the British Government having made a decision to leave, do or die, on October 31.”

“Therefore our relationship with the UK is more important than our relationship with the EU and we will work with the UK to deliver the best possible outcome for the people of Gibraltar on the morning of November 1.”

Asked if he agreed with the assessment of the Yellowhammer report regarding a potential gridlock at the border, Mr Picardo restated that the document was out-of-date, adding that the section on Gibraltar had been prepared by the Gibraltar Government itself ahead of the original March 29 Brexit deadline.