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‘We don’t discard third referendum,’ Picardo says

Unite Union Press Call at the JMH(Photo John Bugeja) 23.03.17 Gibraltar Tony Woodhouse, a member of the Unite executive council in the UK, campaign relating to Ian McClusky. In pix Michael Netto

In part one of a two-part interview, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo reflects on sovereignty, Spain and a tumultuous year of Brexit

The Gibraltar Government would consider holding a third referendum on the issue of sovereignty if the need arose, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in an interview with the Chronicle, even as he acknowledged “a change of tone” in Spain’s approach to the Rock.

Mr Picardo, underscoring the UK’s double-lock sovereignty commitment to Gibraltar, said there appeared to be “a good awakening” in Spain to the fact that the people of Gibraltar “will never compromise" on sovereignty.

There was also a greater awareness that Gibraltarians want “a positive and productive” relationship with the people of Spain.

But Mr Picardo said Gibraltar’s history and the suffering imposed during the closed border years had “marked our hearts and our souls” in a way that Gibraltarians could not consider being anything but British.

And if the need ever arose to demonstrate that message to the world once again, his government had not ruled out holding a third referendum.

“I don’t discard the need to demonstrate to the world the strength of feeling of the people of Gibraltar if necessary in a referendum,” the Chief Minister said, although he would not speculate on what circumstances might prompt such a step.

“Let nobody think that the government and the people of Gibraltar are afraid of expressing their views again at the ballot box in a referendum that is internationally invigilated as the last one was with observers from outside of Gibraltar.”

“Because I have no doubt about what the result of the referendum in Gibraltar would be on the issue of sovereignty, despite Brexit.”

Mr Picardo said that just on an economic case, it made sense to remain British because of Gibraltar's close trading relationship with the UK.


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