PM May to Gibraltar: ‘Stay British as long as you like’

The "Rock" of Gibraltar will remain British "as long as it wishes" according to British PM Theresa May. [Andres Carrasco Ragel/EPA]

Prime Minister Theresa May has highlighted Britain’s commitment to Gibraltar on its national day (10 September) and expressed hope that the British overseas territory would be “deeply involved” in the Brexit negotiations. EURACTIV Spain reports.

In a video address, Theresa May reaffirmed that the inhabitants of “the Rock” will remain British citizens as long as they wish, contrary to Spain’s claims that Gibraltar is its own territory.

Britain gained sovereignty over Gibraltar in 1713.

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“While the UK negotiates its exit from the European Union, Gibraltar will be deeply involved in these negotiations,” according to May.

“In the face of future adversities and opportunities, the UK will be on your side,” she said in the video.

“We will look after Gibraltar, its people and its economy… Gibraltar will be British as long as it desires,” the conservative leader said.

Fabian Picardo, Chief Minister of Gibraltar, thanked May for her “magnificent message.”

During the national day of Gibraltar, Picardo affirmed that the Rock maintains a strong “determination” to affirm its British sovereignty and defend its “right to self-determination”.

This year Gibraltar marks the 50th anniversary of the unilateral referendum on sovereignty held in 1967, when Gibraltar decided to remain in the UK.

The British Minister for Europe, Alan Duncan, attended the celebrations, invited by Picardo.

In his first official visit, Duncan said the UK reaffirms its support for Gibraltar “as long as the people of Gibraltar wish to stay in Britain”.

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