HL Deb 08 June 1981 vol 421 cc2-3

2.38 p.m.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any steps have yet been taken by the Spanish Government to implement their undertaking given in April 1980 to cease interference with access to Gibraltar by land, sea and air.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, when my noble friend the Foreign Secretary met the Spanish Foreign Minister in Brussels on 16th March he was assured of the Spanish Government's continuing commitment to the agreement of 10th April 1980, which provided for the restoration of direct communications between Gibraltar and Spain and the opening of negotiations.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, as it was indicated at the time of the agreement of April last year that it was the intention to raise the restrictions in June of last year, and as a year has now passed, may I ask my noble friend whether there is any reason to believe that the Spanish Government intend to honour their obligations? If they do not do so, does it not raise questions as to their reliability in other contexts?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, we believe the Spanish Government intend to honour their obligations and, as I said in the main Answer, they re-affirmed that intention as recently as 16th March.

Lord Boothby

My Lords, would the Minister give an assurance that so long as the Spanish Government continue to wage war against Gibraltar—because that is what it amounts to—Her Majesty's Government will veto the application of Spain to join the Common Market?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, we do not make any connection between Spanish accession to the European Community and the Gibraltar question, but, as has been said on many occasions, Spanish accession with the restrictions still in place is inconceivable.