‘Where’s your flag?’ Gibraltar chief MOCKS Spain after Brexit boast – ‘No way, Jose!’

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Mr Picardo shared an interview with Mr Margallo which was broadcast by RTVE, Spain’s state broadcaster, on October 5, 2016, in which he was asked about the future of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory. Speaking just four months after the referendum, Mr Margallo was questioned about Mr Picardo’s vow he would “never get his hands on Gibraltar” after Brexit.

Mr Margallo replied: “I will put up the flag and much earlier than Picardo believes.”

However, Mr Picardo yesterday tweeted: “Four years ago already since he said the Spanish flag would be in Gibraltar? Time flies when you are having BRITISH fun.”

He also shared three hashtags: #NoWayJose, #WakeUpAndSmellTheCoffee and #HellWillFreezeOver.

During the course of his RTVE interview, Mr Margallo said: “Gibraltar has two options left: either British outside the Union or Spanish-British within the Union.

“What Spain proposes is a scenario that favors Gibraltar and the Spanish workers in Gibraltar. A formula of co-sovereignty in which Spain and the United Kingdom would carry the borders and immigration, and with a statute that would allow Gibraltarians to access Spanish nationality.”

Mr Margallo, a member of the centre-right People’s Party who is now an MEP, made a number of controversial statements about the Rock during the course of his time in office.

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In 2015 he ordered the closure of a Spanish language school there, claiming there was no need for it as “everyone speaks Spanish except for the apes”.

Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the referendum result, he said Spain would demand control of Gibraltar “very next day” after a British withdrawal from the EU.

During the course of his RTVE interview, Mr Margallo said: “Gibraltar has two options left: either British outside the Union or Spanish-British within the Union.”

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The issue of Brexit is a particularly difficult one for Gibraltar, where 96 percent of voters backed Remain four years ago.

The Rock is determined to retain its sovereignty, and its British ties – but also wants access a trade deal which will ensure cross-border fluidity.

Speaking to Express.co.uk last year, Gibraltar’s Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said: “During the referendum campaign the Spanish foreign minister at the time, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, made particularly aggressive statements against Gibraltar, including stating that once we left the European Union all the options would be open to Spain, including closing the border completely.

“And they also said if we wanted a relationship with the EU in the future it would have to pass through shared sovereignty with Spain.

“Now we are very clear. We may have voted 96 percent to remain in the European Union and we don’t believe that choice that the foreign minister put to us is necessarily the choice – but if the choice were to be having a relationship with the EU and sharing sovereignty, or being outside the EU with no relationship and 100 percent British, then we are 100 percent British and we have no relationship with the European Union.”

On Monday Mr Picardo met the Cross-Border Group, featuring representatives from both sides of the border, to discuss the situation.

Afterwards he thanked participants “for their interest and support to reach a negotiated solution that does not cross the red lines of either party but that provides maximum fluidity at the border for the transit of workers and goods”.

In addition, the third round of meetings of the Memoranda of Understandings (MoU) Committees will take place in La Linea in Spain on October 20-21.

A total of four MoUs were agreed between the UK, Spanish and Gibraltarian governments in 2018, with the intention of maintaining cooperation even if no trade deal is ultimately agreed.

(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)

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