British Primer Minister Tony Blair said he would continue to try to reach a ”sensible'' agreement with Spain over the future of Gibraltar.
A deal with Madrid to share sovereignty over the Mediterranean dependency collapsed in 2002, following the referendum showing 99% of Gibraltarians wanted to stay British.
However last Mr Blair told the new leader of the Spanish centre-right Partido Popular, Mariano Rajoy, that he would be willing to continue talks with him over the Rock if he wins the election in March to choose a successor to retiring premier Jose Maria Aznar.
Speaking at his monthly televised Downing Street press conference Mr Blair insisted that talks over Gibraltar had "never been dead at all'' and had remained on the agenda in his talks with current Spanish president Jose Aznar.
"It is important that we carry on, Britain and Spain, trying to reach agreements, which of course in the end will have to be subject to the consent of the people of Gibraltar", indicated Mr. Blair.
"It is important that we carry on trying to reach an agreement on this issue, because I think that relations between Britain and Spain are immensely important.
"We need to do everything we can to try to resolve this in a sensible way''.
Mr Blair denied his comments to Mr. Rajoy indicated any shift in the British Government's position adding that "we have continued to discuss the issues raised, and Gibraltar obviously forms part of the conversations I have had with President Aznar over the past few months".
"What I said to Sr Rajoy is exactly what I have said to President Aznar and that situation will continue.''