THE phone lines between Gibraltar and Westminster have been busy with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo deep in conversation with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over what Picardo viewed as a “shameful” and “unacceptable” point in Donald Tusk’s response to Article 50.
In this response, point 22 states that any Brexit deal that includes Gibraltar needs to be agreed jointly between Britain and Spain but this response is only a draft and has to be agreed by all 27 states before it takes effect.
What could not be achieved during the sabre rattling reign of Spanish Foreign Minister Margallo appears to have been achieved by the supposedly less hawkish replacement Alfonso Dastis who has made many statements to the effect that Gibraltar would not be a bargaining chip whilst presumably lobbying behind the scenes in order to make it so.
Boris Johnson commented on the matter: “As ever, the UK remains implacable and rock-like in our support for Gibraltar.”
Much has been made of the fact that Gibraltar was not mentioned in the letter triggering Article 50 and it almost looks as if the Territory is being treated as an afterthought.
Despite current protestations of support, the British government may not be as steadfast as Margaret Thatcher following the invasion of the Falkland Islands and history has shown that political expedience can often overcome bright promises.
With just 30,000 inhabitants, Gibraltar has always been a staunch supporter of the UK but perhaps now is the time to consider calling for Independence prior to Britain exiting the European Union.