If the Tories care so much about Gibraltar, there was a simpler solution than going to war

96 per cent of Gibraltarians voted Remain for a reason


Less than a week after the triggering of Article 50, and we’ve already reached the ‘threatening war’ of negotiations, with Michael Howard insisting that, just as Margaret Thatcher ‘sent a taskforce halfway across the world’ to defend the Falklands, Theresa May ‘will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar.’

According to Howard, this extraordinary dispute is all about the democratic will of the people of Gibraltar. He continued:

“We’re going to look after Gibraltar. Gibraltar is going to be protected all the way because the sovereignty cannot be changed without the agreement of the people of Gibraltar.”

No reference, of course, to the fact that 96 per cent of the people of Gibraltar voted to remain in the EU — meaning that their status is being drastically changed without their agreement, but by the UK rather than those covetous Spaniards.

The Tory government may be astonished at how quickly this situation has spiralled out of control, but the Gibraltarians certainly aren’t. They knew that Brexit would be extremely disruptive to their economy, way of life and sovereignty.

In fact, if the Tories are so committed to Gibraltar — enough to threaten war against a key ally — surely they had a more straightforward way to solve this problem? By not holding a dangerous, disruptive referendum in the first place.

See also: Two days in, just how badly is Brexit going?

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