Britain should think about sharing sovereignty over Gibraltar with Spain to help solve the problem of the territory being excluded from the EU against its will, Peter Hain, the former Labour cabinet minister, has said.
Hain, who tried to negotiate such an agreement in 2002, called on the government to think about “resurrecting co-sovereignty” as it would give Gibraltarians much more freedom and security than they have previously enjoyed.
“The co-sovereignty deal was and still could be a win-win for all parties to the dispute,” he wrote in the Guardian. “The only concession Gibraltarians would have to make is a Spanish flag flying on the Rock alongside a British one. Their cherished British citizenship, traditions, customs and way of life would be unchanged – except for the better, because being under siege from Spain would disappear.
“Pints of beer would still be served in British-style pubs. Gibraltarians would keep their institutions – self-government, an elected House of Assembly, courts and police service.”
The Labour peer made the proposal after a week of diplomatic tensions prompted by the EU’s draft negotiating guidelines, which proposed giving Spain a veto over the future of Gibraltar in any deal that emerges after Brexit.
The situation escalated when Michael Howard, a Conservative peer and former Tory leader, suggested that Theresa May would show the same resolve over Gibraltar as Margaret Thatcher did when defending the Falklands, injecting the issue of possible war into the debate.
May has tried to defuse the row by saying the solution was “jaw-jaw”…
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