Great Britain

Gibraltar fury: Spanish party demands immediate liberation of Rock in bitter Brexit row

Picardo: Nothing will cleave Gibraltar from the UK

The far-right Vox members of the Andalusian Parliament presented a request to debate a motion that would see Madrid forced to scrap the UK's post-Brexit agreement signed with Spain on Gibraltar.

The Andalusian assembly has been urged by the party to demand he Spanish Government to reject the agreement made with Britain that implies that any "transfer or change of the historical demands of Spain on the Rock and the demand for its immediate liberation and reincorporation to the national territory" could not resurface post-Brexit.

The right-wing politicians are also demanding Spain will oppose "any agreement with the Government of the United Kingdom that does not address the labour rights of the workers of Campo de Gibraltar and the elimination of the money laundering, tax evasion and smuggling networks present in the Rock after years of inaction by the Spanish authorities".

Vox is demanding Gibraltar to close its borders with the UK in a bid to control the spreading of coronavirus infections.

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Brexit latest: Vox is demanding the immediate liberation of Gibraltar from UK (Image: GETTY)

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Brexit news: Vox leader Santiago Abascal (Image: GETTY)

But the party is willing to reassure the border closures would not apply to workers who travel to the Rock every day.

They said: "Measures must be taken to guarantee their health and safety.

"In the event that these cannot be guaranteed, Vox raises in the initiative that the Government of the nation, together with the regional administration, will proceed to establish a protection mechanism that allows workers affected by the closure to receive their payroll in full."

Referring to the UK as a "colony", the party continued: "The central government is asked to implement a specific recovery plan for Campo de Gibraltar, which has as a priority an effective re-industrialisation that allows the economic and social recovery of the area, deteriorated by the abandonment of administrations and unfair competition from the British colony."

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In relation to the agreement signed between the Spanish and British governments, Vox states in its initiative that it affects the lives of thousands of Spanish workers and national historical demands from more than three centuries ago, and has been "reached without any kind of political debate and, to this day, the Spanish do not even know its content."

The party points out that it could be openly contrary to the Constitution because it did not obtain the prior authorisation of both the Congress and the Senate.

They added: "The Government of Spain has eluded the participation of the Spanish people and their representatives in the negotiation of an agreement that directly affects the entire nation, hiding for weeks the content of these negotiations from the Spanish, who will be directly affected by the agreement."

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Brexit news: Spain signed an agreement with the UK on Gibraltar (Image: GETTY)

Demands for the Rock to return under Spain's territorial jurisdiction have been growing since the Brexit referendum, when Gibraltar residents voted to Remain in the EU.

British Armed Forces registered a total of 830 Spanish incursions into Gibraltar's territory in 2020.

The Strategic Command of the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom recorded 37 overflights of the Spanish Air Force and 27 intrusions of Spanish Navy ships throughout the year.

The remaining incursions were carried out by the Spanish Civil Guard or customs officers.

Brexit latest eu uk trade deal timeline

Brexit latest: EU-UK trade deal timeline (Image: EXPRESS)

Britain records any incidents they consider to be Spanish incursions in the waters and airspace belonging to Gibraltar.

Spain does not recognise such incidents because maritime territory or airspace restrictions were not included in the historic Treaty of Utrecht which gave Britain sovereignty over the Rock in 1713.

The figures were released by defence chiefs after a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request by a resident of Gibraltar and were first published by the Confidencial Digital newspaper.

British Armed Forces Strategic Command said its figures were based on "incursions" into the "British Territorial Waters of Gibraltar" as defined in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which occurred between January 1 and December 31 2020.

The response indicated there were 704 Spanish maritime incursions during that period with 27 involving Spanish naval vessels.

The remaining 677 were carried out by "other agencies of the Spanish government" - a category that includes Spanish Customs and Civil Guard officials who often chase drug traffickers and smugglers through the Bay of Algeciras and pass through Gibraltarian waters.

UK Strategic Command reported an additional 126 incidents of air incursions by Spain recorded by the RAF in 2020.

Of that figure, 37 were carried out by Spanish Air Force or other Spanish military aircraft while 74 would be from other agencies of the Government of Spain. The remaining 15 were probably linked to civil aircraft.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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