GIBRALTAR was never included as part of plans to reform the UK refugee processing plans, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has revealed.
The UK minister was responding to claims made in the British national press that Gibraltar could be used as a location to process refugee applications.
But Patel has confirmed that ‘Gibraltar has not even been considered as part of plans to reform UK asylum policy’, according to a government spokesperson.
After the report was published, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo wrote to Patel to get some clarification about the claims, which also named other UK overseas territories and Crown Dependencies.
“I am very pleased to have received these assurances from the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Priti Patel, herself,” said Picardo.
“I had previously also had a clear indication in the same terms from the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab.
“This clarity is very helpful and will put an end to the speculation that Gibraltar might in any way have been considered for the purpose of the processing of applicants for asylum to the United Kingdom.”
“Gibraltar’s circumstances make it impossible for us to assist, as part of the British family of nations, in this respect.”
Patel used the opportunity to strengthen the UK’s relationship with Gibraltar and looked forward to meeting the Chief Minister in person.
“I will very much look forward to seeing the Home Secretary in London when travel restrictions are no longer applicable,” added Picardo.
The Chief Minister had earlier cited legal and geographical reasons for not being able to take on the task.
A controversial Australian-style system has been proposed that will see refugees being processed outside the UK mainland.