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Picardo opts for No Brexit over No Deal ahead of London meetings

With a no-deal looking ever closer to being a reality the Chief Minister is hoping that the UK will once again consider cancelling Brexit altogether if Theresa May’s agreement is voted out in the second week of January.

Both the Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, and the Deputy Chief Minister, Joseph Garcia, flew to London today with the Attorney General, Michael Llamas to take on what is looking like an ever grimmer situation for the Rock.

The 24-hour round of meetings just before the festive period, will, according to a spokesperson, “concentrate on matters arising from the potential for a no-deal Brexit, as well as how to address future negotiations”.

It follows the presentation of a deal struck with the EU which many MPs in  the Tory, Labour and DUP camps have promised to vote against. Only after a no confidence vote by UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn did Theresa May finally release a date for a parliamentary discussion on the agreement, which EU leaders repeated only last week would not improve.

“We have a duty to work and continue working tirelessly on finding the best solutions for Gibraltar for all potential eventualities,” said the Chief Minister. “That includes continuing our work with the UK Government and lobbying our political counterparts in London without pause.

“This is what enables us to manoeuvre Gibraltar into as advantageous a position as we can secure. We do this in the context of unprecedented turmoil in the British political establishment – something to be bemoaned, not celebrated – but confident that we have covered all bases.”

No Brexit plea

While the Government have worked hard to achieve the best deal for Gibraltar, they have few cards left and have resorted to parroting the Theresa May narrative almost verbatim. With the four Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) agreed with Spain looking to be revoked if the Brexit deal is defeated in Parliament, it is clear that something is better than nothing for Gibraltar.

But as his final statement before departing to London suggested, it became aware just how much we need the EU to guarantee frontier flow. Hence, Picardo will now advise Theresa May to cancel Brexit altogether if the deal is voted out of the House of Commons in Gibraltar’s interests at least, a very different public stance to everything being said since the referendum in 2016.

“My work and the work of this Government in this respect is far from over as we look at all potential strands for continued and further action,” reiterated Picardo. “This includes ensuring that we make clear our view that the best and safest option for Gibraltar in the event that Mrs May’s deal is eventually not accepted is a straight revocation of the Article 50 notification.”

This seems destined to fall on deaf ears though, with Theresa May – previously a Remainer herself – feeling Brexit will be her legacy. However, if and when the deal is voted down in Parliament, things could really change dramatically as the UK will really be spiralling towards a no-deal Brexit with nothing to hold on to but democratic accountability. This seems to be when the Gibraltar government hopes the shift to no Brexit will occur.

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