HC Deb 20 May 1968 vol 765 cc16-7
17. Mr. Tilney

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what are his plans to alleviate Spanish pressure on Gibraltar.

Mr. William Rodgers

As the House knows, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs will be visiting Gibraltar from 22nd to 24th May to continue discussions with Gibraltar Ministers on this and other questions.

Mr. Tilney

As most sensible people would like to see a friendly Spain and expansion of trade between Gibraltarians and Spaniards, will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the balance of trade, taking tourist revenue into account, is very much in favour of Spain at present?

Mr. Rodgers

Yes. That is certainly one of the considerations we have in mind.

Sir G. de Freitas

Will my hon. Friend draw the attention of the Leader of the House to the all-party Motion on Gibraltar based on a Motion before the Assembly of the Council of Europe and signed by all parties from nearly all the national delegations?

Mr. Rodgers

I think the Leader of the House is fully aware of that most important Motion.

Mr. John Lee

If the Spanish Government persist in harassing Gibraltar, will the Foreign Office do something about making an inventory of Spanish assets in this country with a view to pressure on them by way of retaliation?

Mr. Rodgers

Without necessarily saying that the method suggested by my hon. Friend would be a practical and desirable one, certainly we do not rule out the possibility of retaliation, although we are also considering positive help to the people of Gibraltar to sustain them in their difficult times.