UK came close to sharing Gibraltar with Spain
The British Government came within a day of doing a controversial deal to share the sovereignty of Gibraltar with Spain and end 300 years of conflict over "The Rock".
Tony Blair and the then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw were both keen to do a deal over Gibraltar to "help our strategic relationship" with Spain, according to a new book.
But the then Europe minister Peter Hain reveals in his memoirs that secret talks with the Spanish government broke down at the last minute when the Spanish got "cold feet" over the agreement.
The book, Outside In, also reveals that the government was deeply concerned about "money laundering, tax evasion, drug trafficking and crime" associated with Gibraltar and had little sympathy for local politicians who insisted that the constitutional arrangements should not be altered.
"Jack's desire to do something about Gibraltar coincided with my gut instinct that it was ridiculous in the modern age for Britain to have a colony on the tip of Spain nearly 2,000 miles away," he writes.
He adds that Mr Blair told him: "It is really important to secure a better relationship with Spain and to remove it [Gibraltar] as an obstruction to our relations within Europe." He writes that Mr Blair was contemptuous of Gibraltarian attitudes and insistent upon making a deal that could move the whole situation forward.
Mr Hain says that despite the vehement opposition from Peter Caruana, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, he went ahead with negotiations in Madrid. "To our astonishment, as the evening arrived, we realised we had a full agreement... and accepted co-sovereignty could not open the door to full Spanish sovereignty."
But talks then foundered and no further progress on the issue has been made subsequently.
A cautionary tale for ambitious would-be authors
Trenton Oldfield deportation: Boat Race protester allowed to stay in UK over fears his Indian wife would face racism in Australia
Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
Teenage girl convicted of robbery after taking pre-crime selfie wielding knife
'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- 1 Dear Sir Jimmy Savile: A comedian's words of valediction to the nation's trusted uncle
- 2 Gurdwaras-turned-food banks: Sikh temples are catering for rise in Britain’s hungry
- 3 Teenage girl convicted of robbery after taking pre-crime selfie wielding knife
- 4 Newly vegan Beyoncé wears fox fur to dine in meat free restaurant
- 5 'I'm experiencing austerity as well', says Princess Michael of Kent
- < Previous
- Next >
£75000 - £85000 per annum + attractive benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Senior...
£70000 - £80000 per annum + Commission Package: Harrington Starr: Due to winni...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Support Analyst (Back Office, CRM, Sharepo...
£65000 - £80000 per annum + Excellent Bonus, Package : Harrington Starr: Busin...