‘Slam the door’ on Spain’s sovereignty hopes, Rosindell tells British Government
The UK must “slam the door” on Spain’s hope to further its sovereignty aspirations over Gibraltar on the back of Brexit, Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said yesterday.
Mr Rosindell, a longstanding champion of Gibraltar’s right to self-determination, said the UK must make clear “without room for doubt” that Gibraltar will always remain British “as determined by the Gibraltarian people”.
“It is the inhabitants of the Rock who must decide the destiny of their homeland and nobody else,” he said.
Mr Rosindell, who campaigned for Leave in the EU referendum, was writing on the pro-Brexit website BrexitCentral in an opinion piece on Gibraltar headlined “The UK must embrace Gibraltar more closely and not allow it to be a dispensable pawn in the Brexit talks”.
In the article, the Tory MP set out Gibraltar’s history and recent developments in relations with Spain, highlighting the Rock’s 96% vote for Remain and its concerns about the impact of Brexit, in particular at the border.
Mr Rosindell said that despite Spain’s “history of maliciousness” in its dealings with Gibraltar, the Rock had flourished into “a rich and diverse embryonic Monaco”.
Prime Minister Theresa May and her government, he added, must ensure this economic and social success is not damaged in the Brexit negotiations.
“It would be totally unforgivable for the United Kingdom to consider Gibraltar as a dispensable pawn in the discussions over Brexit and it would send very questionable signals to the rest of the world about the UK’s commitment to the right of self-determination,” he said in the article.
The Tory MO said Gibraltar “could be damaged by reckless Spanish policy” and that it was Britain’s duty to fight for the Rock to have “continued and uninterrupted access” through the border with Spain.
He added that Britain must also take a firm stance in the face of Spain’s “unlawful and often very dangerous” incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters.
“Any other bullying tactics by Spain to undermine the self-determination and prosperity of Gibraltar must be pointed out and shamed by the UK and the international community,” he added.
Mr Rosindell also set out his view that Gibraltar should not be denied the right to have its own elected MP in Westminster.
“I believe if we are to treat Gibraltar as fully part of the British family, there is no argument now for them being denied the right to have their own elected representation in the Westminster Parliament and, if they so wished, to offer the people of Gibraltar the opportunity to become an equal component part of the United Kingdom, as opposed to an external territory,” he said.
“Both of these decisions would strengthen British-Gibraltarian ties and send strong signals to Spain and the rest of the world that the UK is asserting herself to defend our interests abroad and uphold our historic principles.”