CHIEF Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo has hit out at Spain’s far-right party Vox just weeks from an election that could see it come into government with the Partido Popular.

In its manifesto Vox claims it will exert ‘all international pressure’ to reclaim the Rock, which has not been Spanish since 1704.

The far-right party added it aims to ‘dismantle the web of piracy, drug-trafficking, contraband and money laundering that come from Gibraltar’.

It represents slightly more moderate language to its 2021 call to ‘suffocate’ Gibraltar.

But Picardo slammed the party directly in a recent statement to the European Scrutiny Committee at the UK’s House of Commons.

“Vox can say what they like about Gibraltar,” the Chief Minister roared back.

“Gibraltar is never going to be Spanish – that’s the reality.

“Whatever the political rhetoric, that position is never going to change.”

He summed up: “They are never going to get a finger on my land – we will never allow them to.”

The EU Scrutiny Committee tweeted an excerpt from Picardo’s fiery witness statement on July 6.

Hope remains

The Rock’s leading politician already successfully sued Vox MP Augustin Rosety Fernandez de Castro for defaming him on Twitter.

Gibraltar’s Supreme Court in 2022 forced the Cadiz MP to pay £20,000 in damages which Picardo then donated to charity.

But the Vox party in its manifesto has not completely ruled out a negotiating position in the talks, even if it delivers a narrow mandate.

The far-right party said it would only ‘reject any agreement between the EU and the UK that does not respect the sovereign rights of Spain over Gibraltar’.

And its goal of ‘applying all international pressure necessary to recover that occupied territory’ is not so dissimilar to the Partido Popular.

In fact, the centre-right party speaks in a similar tone within its manifesto how it wanted to talk to the UK about ‘the decolonisation of Gibraltar and the recovery of sovereignty’.

But Picardo pointed out to the European Scrutiny Committee that in its very next line the party suggests it is still up for negotiation.

“We will address the post-Brexit situation, defending Spanish interests in fiscal, financial, environmental and security matters, and we will pay special attention to the free movement of people,” the PP manifesto pledged.

This prompted Picardo to express hope that a deal is still possible even with the PP in government, as the Spanish conservatives were the ones who kicked off the New Year’s Eve talks in the first place.

“We must not fall into the trap of putting rhetoric over reality,” he said.

“There are opportunities to continue on the same track and I won’t give up on pursuing [them],” the Gibraltarian political leader added.


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