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SDGG concerned after Chronicle revelations

Image Courtesy Of Gibraltar Chronicle

The SDGG has reacted to a Chronicle article on declassified documents dating back to 1984 in which the UK’s then ambassador to Madrid, Sir Richard Parsons, said integration with Spain was “the only long term solution” for Gibraltar.

In a statement, the group said it was “gravely concerned, although not altogether surprised” by the ambassador’s comments.

“Fortunately, his comments were largely rebutted by the FCO and even its legal team criticised the ambassador stating ‘there is no doubt in the minds of HMG that the people of Gibraltar are a ‘people’ and as such that they have a right to self-determination’,” the SDGG said.

“We are extremely pleased to hear this since it vindicates the SDGG’s long held and unequivocal argument as far back as 1984 and makes a mockery of the ambassador’s stance.”

The group nonetheless noted that in 1976, the then Foreign Secretary Roy Hattersley made the statement known as "The Hattersley Memorandum" that Gibraltar should reconcile to the fact that "its future lies with Spain".

It also recalled the more recent visit of a senior civil servant under the Blair government, Emyr (now Sir Emyr) Jones Parry, during which visit Mr Parry gave the SDGG the Hattersley message.

“The SDGG understands with serious concerns that Sir Emyr will play a Civil Service role in the negotiations for the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union,” the SDGG said.

“The SDGG therefore calls on the Gibraltar team negotiating our position on departure from Europe to be aware and very vigilant of any influence Sir Emyr - and others with his or Mr Parsons’ or Mr Hattersley’s views - may have on the conditions for our departure.”