Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 9th September 2013.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the policy of the Spanish government towards Gibraltarians.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

I refer the hon. Member to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague)'s written ministerial statement of 2 September 2013, Hansard, column 10WS, and the Foreign Secretary's reply of 3 September 2013 to my hon. Friend Jake Berry, Hansard, column 148.

We are aware of Spanish press reporting on wide-ranging measures that the Spanish Government may be planning to take against Gibraltar. While these reports are concerning, the British Government will respond to actions not rhetoric. We will continue to press the Spanish Government to de-escalate the situation, as well as preparing prudently for increasing that pressure if that does not happen. We remain very concerned by recent actions taken by the Government of Spain, most notably at the border with Gibraltar, and have responded robustly in partnership with the Government of Gibraltar. We have made clear to Spain that their unlawful actions are disproportionate and unacceptable. We have repeatedly expressed our desire to find a diplomatic solution acceptable to Spain while reaffirming our commitment to upholding the rights and interests of the UK and of Gibraltar. At the same time, Spain and the UK have a strong bilateral relationship from which both countries greatly benefit. We want to return to diplomatic means to find our way through the current tensions.

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