Gibraltar leaders hold talks with Britain’s new prime minister

2016-07-21 06:00:00

When the chief minister Fabian Picardo and deputy chief minister Joseph Garcia planned their trip to Brussels and London for discussions about the way forward for Gibraltar following the vote for Britain to leave the EU, they could have had no idea what this week would hold. The timing of their trip did, however, prove very fortuitous.
After a busy schedule of meetings in Brussels, Picardo and Garcia headed for the UK where on Wednesday they held talks at Gibraltar House in London with Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon. Scotland and Gibraltar both voted heavily for Britain to remain in the EU and their leaders are keen to find a way for them to do so or at least to mitigate the effects of the Brexit.
This was a dramatic week in British politics because it was the Gibraltar representatives were on their trip that Andrea Leadsom stood down as candidate for the new leader of the Conservative party, leaving the way clear for Home Secretary Theresa May to become the UK’s new prime minister.
The chief minister and deputy chief minister were in London when she made her acceptance speech, and were able to meet her on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Brexit, the effects on Gibraltar and Spain’s renewed calls for joint sovereignty as a way of Gibraltar retaining access to the EU.
The discussions, which took place shortly before May went to Buckingham Palace to be invited to form a government, were reportedly positive, and it was agreed that Gibraltar will be “fully involved” in the negotiations for Britain to leave the EU.
Picardo said afterwards that he and Garcia had reminded the new PM that 96 per cent of voters in Gibraltar had wanted to stay in the EU and they had explained the challenges which are now faced by the Rock as a result of the referendum vote.
One of Theresa May’s first decisions as PM was to appoint Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary. He has spoken out in support of Gibraltar in the past, and many people on the Rock are hoping that he will continue to be a staunch supporter in his new post.source surinenglish