Gibraltar will be included in whatever deal the United Kingdom negotiates to leave the European Union, Britain’s ambassador to Spain has said. Simon Manley made the comment during a wide-ranging interview with the right-wing Spanish newspaper ABC, during which he also made clear “there is no turning back” from Brexit.
His comments about Gibraltar are in direct contrast to the view expressed by the caretaker Spanish government, whose acting Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, insists Gibraltar cannot form part of the UK’s exit deal.
García-Margallo argues that once Article 50 is triggered, Gibraltar will not be part of any negotiation between the UK and the EU. He adds that Spain will “block or veto” any decision that is not in line with that view.
But pressed by ABC, Britain’s ambassador takes a different view to the caretaker Spanish minister.
“Gibraltar forms part of the United Kingdom,” Mr Manley told the newspaper.
“We are currently talking to its government about our negotiating position, in the same way as we are doing with Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and London.”
“And our position is to tackle those negotiations as a united kingdom, because we are going to leave the European Union as a united kingdom.”
Mr Manley nonetheless stressed the UK and Gibraltar’s hope for improved cross-border relations, irrespective of Brexit.
He said Spain should also have a mutual interest in this, not least because of the thousands of Spanish workers who crossed daily into Gibraltar.
“We hope to have the best possible relations between Gibraltar and Spain, not just in economic terms but also at the level of human and commercial interaction,” Ambassador Manley said.