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EDITIONS
Saturday, 13 July, 2002, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Tories would cancel Gibraltar deal
Iain Duncan Smith in Gibraltar
Duncan Smith made assurances in Gibraltar in May
A future Conservative government would not honour the deal struck by Labour to share sovereignty of Gibraltar with Spain.

Shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram is to write to the people of Gibraltar to reassure them that a future Tory administration would not be bound by the terms announced by the government.

On Friday, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told MPs that London and Madrid had reached a broad agreement of the future of the Rock.


We as an incoming government would not feel ourselves bound by this broad agreement

Michael Ancram
The announcement was met with widespread anger and Gibraltarians took to the street in protest.

Demonstrators barracked the British governor of Gibraltar, David Durie, who has been a focus of criticism since he was condemned by the local government for interfering in politics.

They felt betrayed, according to T&G general secretary Bill Morris - his trade union has a large number of members in Gibraltar as a result of its historic naval base status.

Mr Morris told BBC Radio 4's Today programme they saw the agreement as a "sell-out".

"They are as British as any other citizens of the United Kingdom," he added.

The Tories say that any deal should be put to Gibraltarians for their "full, free and democratic" consent.

If they rejected it, there should be a guarantee that such a deal would never be resurrected.

'Dishonourable'

Mr Ancram said the Gibraltarians were being put under "economic and political pressure" to agree to shared sovereignty.

He accused the government of handling the issue "dishonourably".

"Unless we are convinced that there has been consent freely given, we as an incoming government would not feel ourselves bound by this broad agreement," he told the Today programme.

The 27,000 people on the Rock will have a veto on any deal and are overwhelmingly in favour of remaining British.

But Mr Straw is hoping to persuade them of the benefits of shared sovereignty, such as an end to border restrictions which lead to lengthy delays for the many people who cross into Spain every day to work.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Chris Morris
"The idea of shared sovereignty... is overwhelmingly unpopular"

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13 Jul 02 | Politics
10 Jul 02 | Europe
19 Jun 02 | Europe
13 Mar 00 | Europe
13 Mar 00 | Europe
12 Jul 02 | Politics
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