The UK’s position on the sovereignty of Gibraltar had not changed, Theresa May has said, as she added she would always “stand by” its citizens ahead of the Brexit summit on Sunday.
Speaking in Brussels, the Prime Minister said: “We have worked through the withdrawal issues for Gibraltar with Spain in a constructive and sensible way and I would like to pay tribute to the statesmanship with which Fabian Picardo has led the negotiations on behalf of Gibraltar.
“We have ensured that Gibraltar is covered by the whole Withdrawal Agreement and by the implementation period and we will always negotiate on behalf of the whole UK family, including Gibraltar, and in the future relationship we will stand up for their interests.
She added: “I am proud that Gibraltar is British and I will always stand by Gibraltar.”
European Union leaders are set to give their seal of approval to Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Sunday. The summit will go ahead after Spain claimed the UK and European Union had agreed to its demands for guarantees over the status of Gibraltar.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had threatened to block the summit over the issue but later said “Europe and the United Kingdom have accepted our demands”.
Madrid’s foreign minister Josep Borrell went further, saying the agreement is “highly positive for Spain” and “the most important” since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 under which Gibraltar was ceded to the UK.