HC Deb 18 October 1966 vol 734 cc34-5
Q3. Sir F. Bennett

asked the Prime Minister what fresh representations he has received, following the breakdown of the Anglo-Spanish talks, for the transfer of responsibilities for Gibraltar to the Home Office.

The Prime Minister

None, Sir, and, as the hon. Member knows, the talks have not broken down.

Sir F. Bennett

The Prime Minister must be perfectly well aware that when the Question was put down, the talks had at that time been reported as having broken down. Irrespective of that, however, has he nothing more constructive at all to say about the steadily deteriorating situation of the Gibraltarians? Since the right hon. Gentleman seems so very keen on setting time limits to negotiations overseas, why does he not set a time limit to those with Spain?

The Prime Minister

In the first place, I am not responsible for the time limit which the hon. Member has set himself for putting down this Question as to whether the talks have broken down. I am responsible only for the Answer, not the Question. In fact, the talks had not broken down even at the moment when the hon. Member put down his Question.

Secondly, the broader questions of the negotiations are not raised in the hon. Member's Question, which asks about the transfer of responsibilities for Gibraltar to the Home Office. This is a perfectly legitimate proposal and there is a movement in Gibraltar in favour of it. It has been made clear, however, by the responsible leaders in Gibraltar that they are totally opposed to this kind of suggestion. Although I myself was lobbied when I was in Gibraltar by those who support the hon. Member's point of view, the Chief Minister and his colleagues are very much opposed to this suggestion being implemented.

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