Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Eleventh Report


PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE RELATING TO THE REPORT

TUESDAY 5 NOVEMBER

Members present:

Mr Donald Anderson, in the Chair


Mr David ChidgeyMr John Maples
Sir Patrick CormackMr Bill Olner
Mr Fabian HamiltonMr Greg Pope
Andrew MackinlaySir John Stanley

Draft Report (Gibraltar), proposed by the Chairman, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 6 read and agreed to.

A paragraph—(Sir John Stanley)—brought up, read the first and second time, and inserted (now paragraph 7).

Paragraph 7 (now paragraph 8) read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 8 to 10 (now paragraphs 9 to 11) read and agreed to.

Paragraphs—(Sir John Stanley)—brought up, read the first and second time, and inserted (now paragraphs 12 and 13).

Paragraphs 11 to 14 (now paragraphs 14 to 17) read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 15 (now paragraph 18) read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 16 to 23 (now paragraphs 19 to 26) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 24 (now paragraph 27) read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 25 (now paragraph 28) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 26 (now paragraph 29) read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 27 (now paragraph 30) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 28 read, as follows:

28. We conclude that the arguments for including the question of joint sovereignty over Gibraltar in negotiations with Spain under the Brussels Process talks in 2001 were finely balanced.

[We] [A majority of Members of this Committee] further conclude that the Government was right to negotiate joint sovereignty, because a successful outcome to the negotiations could have been in the wider interests of the United Kingdom.

  or

However, [we] [a majority of Members of this Committee] conclude that the Government was wrong to negotiate joint sovereignty, when it must have known that there was no prospect whatsoever that any agreement on the future of Gibraltar which included joint sovereignty could be made acceptable to the people of Gibraltar.

Amendment proposed, to leave out lines 1 to 3—(Sir John Stanley).

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 5Noes, 3
Mr David ChidgeyMr Fabian Hamilton
Sir Patrick CormackMr Bill Olner
Andrew MackinlayMr Greg Pope
Mr John Maples
Sir John Stanley

Another Amendment proposed, to leave out lines 4 to 7—(Sir John Stanley).

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 6Noes, 2
Mr David ChidgeyMr Bill Olner
Sir Patrick CormackMr Greg Pope
Mr Fabian Hamilton
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr John Maples
Sir John Stanley


Amendments made.

Another Amendment proposed, at the end, to add the words "and when the outcome is likely to be the worst of all worlds—the dashing of raised expectations in Spain, and a complete loss of trust in the British Government by the people of Gibraltar."—(Sir John

Stanley).

Question proposed, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 6Noes, 2
Mr David ChidgeyMr Bill Olner
Sir Patrick CormackMr Greg Pope
Mr Fabian Hamilton
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr John Maples
Sir John Stanley



Paragraph, as amended, agreed to (now paragraph 31).

Paragraphs 29 to 42 (now paragraphs 32 to 45) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 43 read, as follows:

43. The Gibraltar Government too should avoid statements or actions which might raise rather than reduce the tension. We appreciate that Gibraltar sees itself as having far more to lose or gain from the ongoing talks than either the United Kingdom or Spain. There is vigorous, democratic debate on the Rock. A certain level of emotional language is therefore in our view to be expected. Nonetheless, the official press release which accused the British Government of "a pathetic and crude attempt to smear Gibraltar for political purposes" was unnecessarily aggressive in tone and in our judgment did nothing to help the Gibraltar Government's case.

Motion made, and Question proposed, that the paragraph be disagreed to—(Andrew Mackinlay).

Question put.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 5Noes, 3
Mr David ChidgeyMr Fabian Hamilton
Sir Patrick CormackMr Bill Olner
Andrew MackinlayMr Greg Pope
Mr John Maples
Sir John Stanley


Paragraphs 44 to 49 (now paragraphs 46 to 51) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 50 read, as follows:

50. The British Government risks giving the impression that it is more concerned to achieve an agreement with Spain, almost at any cost, than it is to ensure that the Government and people of Gibraltar support this agreement. The unilateral concessions in principle already announced appear to present the Gibraltar Government with a fait accompli and the people of Gibraltar with a choice in a referendum between an agreement unacceptable in principle and a status quo made unacceptable in practice. We conclude that the British Government now faces an unenviable choice. On the one hand, it can continue to negotiate on the issue of joint sovereignty and reach a bilateral agreement with Spain which may be in the wider British interest, but which will not be acceptable to the Government or people of Gibraltar. On the other hand, it can step back from discussing sovereignty—with the risk that Spain will react negatively, both bilaterally and against Gibraltar—re-establish trust and good relations with the Government and people of Gibraltar, encourage Spain to do the same, and only then attempt to negotiate an agreement with Spain, with a representative of Gibraltar participating as a full negotiating party (whether under the British flag or

not).

An Amendment made.

Another Amendment proposed, in line 11, to leave out from "Gibraltar." to the end of the paragraph and insert the words "On the other hand, it can withdraw its joint sovereignty proposal, with the likelihood that Spain will react negatively against both Gibraltar and the British Government."—(Sir John Stanley)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 3Noes, 4
Andrew MackinlaySir Patrick Cormack
Mr John MaplesMr Fabian Hamilton
Sir John StanleyMr Bill Olner
Mr Greg Pope


Another Amendment made.

Another Amendment proposed, at the end, to add the words "We further conclude that this dilemma is entirely of the Government's own making."—(Sir John Stanley)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 4Noes, 3
Sir Patrick CormackMr Fabian Hamilton
Andrew MackinlayMr Bill Olner
Mr John MaplesMr Greg Pope
Sir John Stanley


Paragraph, as amended, agreed to (now paragraph 52).

Paragraphs 51 to 53 (now paragraphs 53 to 55) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 54 (now paragraph 56) read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 55 to 81 (now paragraphs 57 to 83) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 82 (now paragraph 84) read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 83 to 92 (now paragraphs 85 to 94) read and agreed to.

Paragraph 93 (now paragraph 95) read, amended and agreed to.

A paragraph—(Andrew Mackinlay)—brought up, read the first and second time, amended and inserted (now paragraph 96).

Paragraphs 94 to 123 read and agreed to (now paragraphs 97 to 126).

Paragraph 124 (now paragraph 127) read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 125 to 127 (now paragraphs 128 to 130) read and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report, as amended, be the Eleventh Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chairman do make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That the provisions of Standing Order No. 134 (Select committees (reports)) be applied to the Report.

Several papers were ordered to be appended to the Minutes of Evidence.

Ordered, That the Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee be reported to the House.—(The Chairman.)

[Adjourned until Thursday 14 November at One o'clock.




 
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