Nothing is decided
The latest developments leave no doubt as to the challenges ahead, but we always knew Brexit was going to be a nightmare. That is why we voted overwhelmingly for Remain.
That Spain has a veto over our future relationship with the EU is not news. The future relationship between the UK and the EU – unlike the withdrawal agreement - has to be agreed by unanimity of the 27. Spain always had a veto, as does every remaining member of the EU.
What is new, however, is the clear indication that the EU has accepted Spain’s argument that Gibraltar should be singled out for separate treatment.
For Spain to seek to impose its outdated sovereignty aspiration in this way is, as the Chief Minister said on Friday, as predictable as it is shameful.
That the EU appears ready to accept that manipulation is galling, but also somewhat predictable: Spain is a member, the UK is leaving.
Gibraltarians are committed Europeans. Against our will, we are being dragged out of the EU. This is not, as Spain suggests, a problem about territory. It is about people and their livelihoods. It is about families and friends.
But above all, Gibraltar is British and wishes to remain so, despite the challenges ahead.
The UK will not budge in its double-lock sovereignty commitment to the Gibraltarians.
Britain must now stand firm behind Gibraltar and ensure Madrid and the EU understand its resolve.
These are the opening shots in complex negotiations.
Nothing is decided yet.