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    Gibraltar Chief Minister Urges UK PM to Stop Brexit, Hold 2nd Referendum

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    LONDON (Sputnik) - Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said that he sent UK Prime Minister Theresa May an open letter, urging her to recall Brexit and to hold another referendum to determine whether the United Kingdom wanted to remain in or leave the European Union.

    "I told the Prime Minister that, in the circumstances, and whilst we will continue to consider the Withdrawal Agreement as a secure exit route for Gibraltar, given that this has not been endorsed by the House of Commons, the position of her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar will have to be to support a revocation of the Article 50 notification in preference to a long extension of membership of the EU or a no-deal departure from the EU. I have confirmed to her that I have signed the petition for the revocation of the Article 50 notification", Picardo said in a statement dated 29 March.

    Picardo noted that the revocation of Article 50 would help the UK government to regroup and reconsider its options, without the time constraint and pressure from having to negotiate with the European Union every step of the way.

    "In the Gibraltar Government's opinion, a revocation would enable [May] and the United Kingdom Parliament to determine how to proceed without needing the agreement of the EU Council. Such a move would enable the United Kingdom to be relieved of any pressure of time being applied by the operation of the time limits imposed by the EU. Indeed, the revocation of Article 50 need not be an artifice to move from a route to departure from the EU to remaining — although remaining in the EU remains, in my view, the best option for Gibraltar. In fact, however, revocation can be an opportunity to simply re-group and re-organise leaving the EU, but without the EU enjoying the pressure lever that a timed long extension allows them", Picardo said.

    The chief minister went on saying that revocation could not be the final step in the process and that in order to support the democratic process, the United Kingdom would need to hold another public referendum to determine whether UK citizens wanted to stay in or leave the European Union.

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    The statement comes after the UK Parliament rejected May's Brexit withdrawal agreement on 29 March, which outlines the nation's exit from the European bloc, for the third time. Now the United Kingdom, conforming to its Brexit deadline extension agreement with the European Union, must either propose an alternative deal by 12 April or exit the bloc without a deal in place on the same date. It also still has the option to revoke Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which the United Kingdom used to proclaim its intent to exit the European Union two years ago.

    Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, adjacent to Spain, with a population of about 32,000. The territory is self-governing in all matters – including taxation – except foreign policy and defence, which are under the UK government's jurisdiction. In the 2016 referendum that determined the United Kingdom's fate to initiate the Brexit process, 96 percent of Gibraltar's voters who cast a ballot, said they wanted to remain in the European Union.

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    Tags:
    referendum, Brexit, European Union, Fabian Picardo, Theresa May, Gibraltar, United Kingdom
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