Don’t blame Britain for holding up Gibraltar deal, MP tells Spain – ‘Acted in bad faith!’

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Earlier this week a Spanish diplomatic source said any deal aimed at creating a “shared prosperity zone” in Gibraltar was unlikely unless a corresponding trade agreement between the UK and the EU could be struck. The insider said: “We’ve made our suggestions, explored technical solutions on how to get there.

“What is lacking is the political will to close the deal. The ball is in the United Kingdom’s court.”

Andrew Rosindell MP, the chairman of the All-Party Group on British Overseas Territories, told Express.co.uk: “It has been encouraging to see that overall progress has been good between Gibraltar and Spain regarding border, customs and other arrangements post-Brexit.

“Gibraltar is undeniably British territory, with a population proud of their British heritage and culture, but given its proximity to Spain it is of course sensible to make arrangements to ensure that both Spain and Gibraltar can maximise the economic potential of their relationship.”

Claims that a Spain-Gibraltar deal are being held up by London should be read with much more than a pinch of salt given the bad faith with which Spain has acted on this issue in the past

Andrew Rosindell

However, he added: “Unfortunately, Spain seems to be prepared to abandon this progress in order to take a swipe at Britain.

“Claims that a Spain-Gibraltar deal are being held up by London should be read with much more than a pinch of salt given the bad faith with which Spain has acted on this issue in the past.

“Along with Brussels, Madrid still shows an unwillingness to completely come to terms with Britain’s democratic decision to exit.

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“This seems to be confirmed by an anonymous source reverting to the worst of Project Fear’s tactics, talking of heavy social, economic and political costs if an arrangement is not reached.

“Instead of apocalyptic tales long since discredited, Spain should be focusing all its efforts to build a positive relationship with Gibraltar.”

Gibraltar has been in British hands since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

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It has twice voted overwhelmingly in referendums to retain its British links – but voted Remain equally emphatically in 2016.

Speaking to the Financial Times earlier this week, Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Spain’s foreign minister said: “On the Spanish side, we will leave no stone unturned to get to a deal.

“If we don’t do this the border of Europe will be Gibraltar, with all the consequences that this has.

“But if we invest in a deal, we can create this space of shared prosperity that we have been talking about for a while.

“On the big sovereignty issue, we know where things stand — we will not renounce sovereignty, nor will the UK.

“But, below that, on the things that matter for everyday life, we know that we can make it smoother, we can make it simpler, we can make it less costly.”

Gibraltar’s chief minister Fabian Picardo said: “It is becoming a tighter and tighter timetable and we need to step up a gear.

“We are ready to deliver a deal so long as it is sovereignty neutral and positive for all sides.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the Spanish Embassy in London to ask for a response to Mr Rosindell’s comments.

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