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Hassan Nahon defends integration views

Independent MP Marlene Hassan Nahon has responded to GSD criticism of her opposition to integration with Britain as a possible option for Gibraltar’s post-Brexit future.

Ms Hassan Nahon had challenged the GSD’s suggestion that integration with UK could offer Gibraltar a Brexit fall-back position, describing the proposal as “a backwards step” and a return to “flunked” ideas of the past.

In response, the GSD said the independent MP had failed to understand the concepts of devolved integration or self-determination, adding that her position was “undemocratic” and had not been properly thought through.

“In response to the GSD’s reply to my statement last week, I would like to reiterate my position that I would have grave reservations with the option of integration with Britain that has been touted as a possible solution for a post-Brexit Gibraltar,” Ms Hassan Nahon said last week.

“In my view, such a move would represent a worrying erosion of our Gibraltarian identity and culture, particularly as, at this stage, it would be careless to speculate on the conditions of self-government, if any, that the British government would impose on us in the unlikely event of them being in favour of such a settlement.”

“If integration was not considered right for Gibraltar forty years ago, it would be even less so today given the significant constitutional progress we have made as a nation since then and therefore while I understand the legitimate concerns about accessing vital markets following the result of the EU referendum, I would be more interested in pursuing an option that reflects more confidence in our rights as Gibraltarians to access these interests without compromising our identity.”

“This will naturally be challenging, but we will fight this fight with right on our side, as indeed recent international judgments have recognised.”

Ms Hassan Nahon said it was “encouraging” that the Gibraltar Government had agreed with the arguments she had put forward.

“This is a measure of how we should see this next step as far more than being backed into a corner and forced to choose between integration and a joint sovereignty arrangement with our Spanish neighbours,” she said.

“I am looking forward to listening to the ideas that will gradually be presented as the post-Brexit haze starts to clear over these next few months, while also actively contributing to the debate and always remaining true to my convictions, and with what I feel are Gibraltar’s best interests in mind.”

WESTMINSTER

Joe Caruana, the chairman of the Gibraltar In Westminster Movement, said he was not surprised by Ms Hassan Nahon’s view on the issue.

In a statement, he suggested the independent MP had taken up the same position as her father, former Chief Minister Sir Joshua Hassan.

Ms Hassan Nahon had spoken out “…more in defence of her father’s memory than logic,” he said.

“We of the Gibraltar In Westminster Movement have dropped the word integration from our letter heading precisely to avoid the confusion in Ms Nahon’s mind,” he said.

“If Ms Nahon disapproves of devolved integration with Britain then perhaps she would prefer joint sovereignty as proposed by Sr. Margallo.”

FULL STORY IN OUR PRINT AND E-EDITIONS