Integration could be Brexit fall-back position, Feetham says
If Spanish pressure led to Gibraltar being excluded from a deal over access to the single market, the Rock could pursue integration with the United Kingdom, Opposition Leader Daniel Feetham has said.
In an interview with the Chronicle in which he sketched out the GSD’s position in the wake of the referendum result, Mr Feetham said he was not advocating the move but suggesting it as a possible means to guarantee access to the single market.
Mr Feetham underscored that Gibraltar requires three types of access from the provisions the UK will negotiate with the EU for withdrawal from the bloc.
These include access to the UK market, access to the single market and access into any third country deals that the UK negotiates. The most important of those being access to the single market, he added.
Mr Feetham pointed to comments made, repeatedly, by Spain’s acting Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo that Spain will not agree to any kind of deal that involves Gibraltar and said this was the issue that needs to be tackled.
This can be achieved, he said, by getting an assurance from the UK that if, for whatever reason, it cannot include Gibraltar in a deal over access to the single market that the UK will offer the people of Gibraltar in a referendum integration with the UK.
“I am not suggesting we should immediately embark upon a process of constitutional reform with the UK leading to Devolved Integration,” Mr Feetham said.
“What I am suggesting is that we should be seeking early assurances from the UK Government that it will put the option to the people of Gibraltar in a referendum should Gibraltar not be included in any deal concluded by the UK for access into the Single Market.”
By integrating with the UK, Gibraltar would form part of it and any deal negotiated by the UK Government for access to the Single Market would automatically apply to the Rock, Mr Feetham said.
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