Since 1713 “The Rock” has been held by the UK and their military bases. The EU has more or less handed over a veto to Spain for the future of Gibraltar within the Brexit negotiating guidelines, a move that will inflame the already high tensions.
The clause was set out today by the European Council in their negotiating strategy which has said the UK must settle the Brexit bill and the future of EU citizens must be agreed before any trade deal talks can take place.
It says: “After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.”
96 per cent of the 30,000 residents in Gibraltar voted to remain in the EU and if Theresa May wants secure the future of the residents she will have to secure a good deal for the UK to which she could then have to make concessions to Spain.
Spain has had long ambitions to reclaim sovereignty over Gibraltar.
Tom Brake the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman said: “Confirmation that Gibraltar’s future must be agreed by the UK and Spain shows just how damaging the Government’s hard Brexit will be on this strategically important British territory.
“Theresa May must urgently produce a plan that protects the citizens of Gibraltar, including their businesses and communities.
“It is our obligation to support our overseas territories, and any attempt to brush off the importance of this issue is a dereliction of duty by the Government.”
Brake has also urged Theresa May to act and protect the people of Gibraltar.
Emily Thornberry the shadow foreign secretary said: “The issue of Gibraltar is clearly a difficult and thorny issue, but the truth is the people of Gibraltar want to remain British and they should do.”