The Spanish Foreign Minister has said that Gibraltar should be excluded from the talks that the EU will hold with the United Kingdom in the event of a potential exit from the European Union. He has said that once the UK is out then Gibraltar leaves automatically and has again pointed to joint-sovereignty as the only option for Gibraltar if we want to remain within the EU.

'It is clear that Mr Margallo is neither an expert in European Union law nor is he a democrat', say Govt.

"The notion that Gibraltar should not be involved in discussions about its future relationship with the European Union would be repugnant to any person who calls himself a democrat. The United Kingdom Government has already guaranteed that Gibraltar will be fully involved in the process in the event of a UK exit from the EU, in the same way as Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland would be involved.

It should be a source of pride for anyone who claims to believe in the European project that 96% of the people of a country voted to remain inside in the EU. This is the mandate that the Government of Gibraltar have and therefore one of the options that is being explored.

Moreover, given the precedent set by Denmark and Greenland, it is perfectly possible for a part of a Member State to remain in the European Union and another part to leave. In the context of the United Kingdom, this could mean that UK remains inside but is constituent parts are redefined to include Scotland, Gibraltar, London and any other region that voted to remain. There would be no exit for Gibraltar and no need to renegotiate the terms of a new relationship with the EU. These would not change."

The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC, said: “Mr Margallo should take careful note that an overwhelming majority of the people of Gibraltar rejected the very principle of shared sovereignty in 2002. This remains the positon of the Government and of the people of Gibraltar to this day. In setting this condition as his personal criteria for Gibraltar to remain in the EU, he knows that this has already been rejected out of hand and that it will never happen. Therefore Mr Margallo, with his unhealthy obsession about Gibraltar, is putting at risk the jobs of thousands of his countrymen who live in Spain and are employed in Gibraltar and who depend on the EU principle of freedom of movement to get from home to work every day”.