Spain 'lobbied US congressmen over joint sovereignty of Gibraltar'

3 August 2020, 11:10

File photo: The Rock of Gibraltar
File photo: The Rock of Gibraltar. Picture: Getty

By Megan White

Spain attempted to convince US congressmen to support a plan stripping Britain of sole sovereignty over Gibraltar, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The paper said that shortly after the Brexit vote, the then Spanish ambassador pushed a plan for Britain to share the territory with Spain.

Seven members of the House of Representatives told the Daily Telegraph that the Spanish Embassy pushed back after they backed Gibraltar's British status or visited the territory.

Some congressmen said Spanish officials were “belligerent” and “over the line.”

The Telegraph said the drive lasted from at least 2014 to 2019.

Residents of Gibraltar rejected the idea of shared sovereignty in 2002, but Spain has long argued that it belongs under its control.

Six current congressmen said they received push back over Gibraltar: George Holding and David Rouzer of North Carolina, Ken Calvert and Paul Cook of California, Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.

The seventh politician who said they were lobbied, Rodney Frelinghuysen, retired as a congressman for New Jersey last year.

Mr Holding first introduced a resolution declaring that the House of Representatives “recognises Gibraltar as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom” in 2014 and has since tabled one in every new Congress.

He said that Ramón Gil-Casares, then the Spanish ambassador to the US, wrote him letters in 2014 and 2015 countering the statements in the resolution, which echoed the UK's position.