Hague warns of Brexit impact on Gibraltar, Falklands and Ulster
Leaving the European Union would be ‘disastrous’ for Gibraltar, the Falklands and Ulster, former Tory Leader William Hague has said.
Writing in the Telegraph yesterday, the politician further stated that the Britain has a responsibility to protect the peace and prosperity of those nations when it comes to voting in the referendum on EU membership on June 23.
“Among the most inspiring experiences of my time in politics was meeting people who, in spite of great pressure to the contrary, chose to be British,” Mr Hague wrote.
“If you were born in Yorkshire, like me, being British is effortless…But if your native land is Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, or Northern Ireland, your right to remain British requires a vigilance, a resolve, and sometimes the exertion of an effort that has come recently to Scotland and is still unfamiliar to most of us in England and Wales.”
Mr Hague said that everything he saw as Foreign Secretary corroborates what the Prime Minister David Cameron and recently-retired intelligence chiefs have said in recent days regarding British and European security.
And he said that he lost count of the number of times he had to complain to a Spanish Foreign Minister about illegal incursions into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters or unnecessary delays being caused at a border crossed every day by thousands of people going about their business.
“On most of these occasions, my trump card was that both Britain and Spain are members of the European Union, even to the point of calling in Commission officials from Brussels to insist that the freedom to cross the border be maintained,” he said.
Mr Hague warned that if the UK leaves the EU, Gibraltar leaves with it, and the economic impact on its people, particularly the damage done to its financial services industry, would be very serious.
“For Spain, the legal constraints on a more hostile approach would be lifted, potentially leading to severe disruption of trade and workers at the border, or even a return to the past policy of a total land blockade.”
Small wonder that the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, has said that a British exit could have disastrous consequences for the people on the Rock, Mr Hague wrote.
It might be assumed by some that the fortunes of the Gibraltarians, the Falkland Islanders and the Northern Irish are small issues in the overall EU debate, he added.
“They were not so small when we went to war in 1982, or struggled so long against the IRA. We have a responsibility to protect their peace and prosperity when we decide how to vote on 23 June.”