The best Brexit outcome for Gibraltar would be for the UK to revoke Article 50 and remain in the European Union, the Gibraltar Government said on Tuesday. No.6 Convent Place was reacting after Prime Minister Theresa May accepted for the first time that the UK may not leave the European Union on March 29, offering MPs a chance to vote to delay Brexit if her deal is rejected again next month.
An official release states that the position of the Gibraltar government is that the best outcome for The Rock would be the revocation of Article 50 and remaining in the European Union. This follows the statement by the Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday and the decision of the Labour Party in the United Kingdom to support a referendum where the choice would be between remaining and a withdrawal agreement.
It is clear to the Gibraltar Government that in the event of a new referendum, Gibraltar would expect to form a part of the franchise as we were last time.
However, this does not guarantee that there would be a different outcome, nor that there would be an end to the uncertainty and division in the UK once the result has been declared.
Gibraltar would back a 'remain' outcome in such a referendum, despite the many concerns we have had about the statements and actions of the EU institutions and some Member States since the Article 50 notification was originally given by the UK in April 2017.
The Prime Minister has made it abundantly clear that a revocation of Article 50 is not going to happen without a new referendum result, on the basis that the overall vote in the United Kingdom in the referendum of June 2016 was a vote to leave. Instead, she will return to Parliament with another meaningful vote on the withdrawal agreement by 12 March. Mrs May has made it clear that if this deal is rejected, then there would be another vote on 13 March which would give MPs the chance to vote on whether they want to UK to leave with or without a deal.
The Government would then hold a vote on extending but not revoking Article 50 for a short time if MPs vote to reject the no deal option. The Government is concerned about the consequences of an extension for obvious reasons.
The motion put by the Prime Minister on the 13th March, if it comes to that, however, will be amendable, and the results of what final position will emerge are therefore not presently predictable with any degree of accuracy.
The position of the Gibraltar Government is that Gibraltar must continue to prepare for all eventualities as we leave the European Union. Therefore the detailed and serious planning for a no deal Brexit will continue.
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, said: The final potential outcomes of this process remain unclear. We have therefore been working hard on all reasonably predictable outcomes to deliver the results we need - certainty for all citizens and businesses alike. We will continue to do so and to engage with the UK, the EU institutions and Member States, including Spain, to ensure all our citizens are equally and reciprocally protected in all eventualities.