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Why new party leader thinks a no deal EU exit could hurt Gibraltar

A No-Deal Brexit could leave us with “more brick walls” said the leader of newly formed party Together Gibraltar.

With the odds not looking good for Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Independent MP Marlene Nahon-Hassan is dreaming that there will be some way to turn back the clock.

“If we really are going to leave the EU I hope a deal goes through in the House of Commons,” said Marlene Nahon-Hassan. “A No Deal scenario would be very detrimental for Gibraltar, in many different ways, practically, daily. We’d face more brick walls than with a deal even though Theresa May’s is not great.

“But my ultimate dream would be for the UK to go for a second referendum which then delivers us with a Remain result. Maybe I am just dreaming there but I am looking out for Gibraltar above all and that would be our best outcome, especially given that it’s a conversation being held in the UK at the moment.”

Marlene Nahon-Hassan aims to be a breath of fresh air to local politics

Criticism

Hassan-Nahon, who got into office at the 2015 election with the GSD before leaving the party soon after to create Together Gibraltar, believes the government didn’t look at all the options in its Brexit talks.

“I don’t think there’s been enough future planning,” said Marlene. “In all this lobbying and Memorandum of Understanding work I think we have lost our way a little bit on the manner of securing contingency solutions.

“That worries me quite a bit now because we are now only two months from the exit and we need to pull our socks up so that things continue to run smoothly from an economic, trade and industry policy perspective.

“We would never know if France or Switzerland or Italy were our neighbours they might have accepted a different deal but for the Spanish this is mana from heaven. We weren’t going to get a bespoke deal to remain in the EU while the UK had to leave because of Spain and the bad will they’ve generally shown us throughout history.”

Support

Despite this lack of foresight, Nahon-Hassan supports the hard work being done by the Chief Minister and his team in coordination with the UK government. Even though this might be in vain, she gave a thumbs up to the intensive work done by the government team in London.

Intensive meetings carried out in the UK planned to make Brexit work

“Gibraltar had to show we were fervently against Brexit for obvious reasons,” she said. “Brexit is no good for us as much as it is no good for Britain. But in our case we have particular disadvantages geographically, politically and diplomatically that are going to be real pain in the neck in times to come.

“But once we acknowledged we’d lost and Brexit was happening the most common sense and responsible approach for the Chief Minister and his team was to work alongside the British Government. They are the entity that would negotiate on our behalf and the ones who could get us the best deal possible.

“Given that he has a team of people ranging from the Attorney General to the Financial Secretary, I don’t believe me or any other politician is better placed to tell them that we know better. What we need to do is support the Chief Minister and his team standing together on a matter that affects us all.”

MoU preparation

One criticism levelled at the government during the drafting of the Memorandums of Understanding with Spain, UK and the EU was the lack of participation of members of the business community. With little or no recorded input from business associations or unions, it seemed that the government acted quite unilaterally to secure a free-flowing frontier.

Fabian Picardo and his team sign the package of MoUs

But the politician who aims to present a different way of doing politics refused to condemn the government for the swift action taken.

“The MOUs have been negotiated as well as possible in a very difficult scenario,” she continued. “Although the more consultation the better, I can understand the challenges and time-frames involved. There comes a time when the government in administration has a mandate and they must be allowed to fulfil it.

“People have put them in charge so we have to respect in a moment like this they are going to do anything possible. I don’t think any other leader of this community would’ve spent the time it would take to have a wide consultation in the Brexit situation where things are changing every five minutes.

“The proof of the pudding will be in the eating. We’ll see in time if they got it wrong or they could’ve been a little more diligent.”

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