Return to Spain Up to Gibraltar, Thatcher Says
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher today ruled out the return of Gibraltar to Spain unless the colony agrees.
Answering a question in Parliament following an appeal before the body from Spanish King Juan Carlos on Wednesday, Thatcher said Britain was well aware of Spain’s view that the tiny Mediterranean colony should be returned to Spanish sovereignty but would not change its policy.
“We know full well their views on Gibraltar,” she said, adding that no deal was possible without the consent of the territory’s 20,000 inhabitants.
“Her Majesty’s government has given assurances to the people of Gibraltar that Gibraltar will remain part of Her Majesty’s dominions unless and until an act of Parliament otherwise provides,” Thatcher said.
“Furthermore Her Majesty’s government will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar will pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes,” she said.
In his speech to members of both houses of Parliament, Juan Carlos applauded the progress made by Spain and Britain toward resolving their dispute over the sovereignty of Gibraltar. But the king said there was still a long way to go.
Underlining Spain’s determination to recover the territory, the king called for an “early disappearance” of the dispute.