CM tells Parliament Gibraltar must plan for "a now less likely No Deal Exit"

Fabian Picardo has responded to last night's vote in the Commons and has stated how remaining in the EU would be the best outcome for Gibraltar.

A statement from the Chief Minister reads:

"This is a time of flux, the like of which is unknown to modern democracy.

The British Government is being repeatedly defeated

Tentative steps are being taken toward no-deal being entirely off the table but we are not safely there yet, until the Withdrawal Act is amended; Tomorrow will again be an important date.

For now, leaving the EU on the basis of the Withdrawal Agreement and leaving without a deal at all are still options that could emerge.  Revocation of the Article 50 notification is, nonetheless, also now as likely a possibility.

That - leading to the United Kingdom and Gibraltar remaining within the European Union - would undoubtedly be the best outcome for Gibraltar.

But we cannot let down our guard.  We must continue in these times of unprecedented flux, to plan for every eventuality even now."

The Chief Minister also spoke to Parliament saying:

Mr Speaker, 

The events of last night in Westminster are unprecedented.

As a result, I am sure I speak for all of us when I say that I am pleased that I believe that we are closer to a No Deal Exit from the EU being entirely off the table.

But let us be clear: we are not safely there yet

For now, the default position in law is still that we leave on the 29th March, Deal or No Deal.

Until the Withdrawal Act is amended - if the legislation to do so passes the Commons - the default in UK law is unchanged.

Even if the Act is amended, the UK will leave the EU on the 29th March if the EU does not agree to an extension of the Article 50 process. Because, at the other end of the spectrum, the UK may seek an extension of the Article 50 process but that depends on the EU agreeing that extension, or the UK may revoke the Article 50 notification unilaterally in the absence of such an extension.

The Government must, therefore, in Gibraltar continue to plan for all options - including a now less likely No Deal Exit.

At the moment all permutations remain possible.​​​​​​​

Revocation of the Article 50 notification is, nonetheless, also now a likely possibility.

It is now being increasingly mentioned. Indeed, the Prime Minister mentioned it yesterday on a number of occasions and Honourable Members will know that the Father of the House at Westminster Ken Clarke moved an amendment with Vince Cable and one other member from the Labour Party also, which was not selected by the Speaker and which was not voted on, seeking that the House vote for the revocation of the Article 50 notification.

It may happen as a new referendum – Honourable Members know I try never to call it a second referendum, as it would have to be a new referendum on a new question, which I think would be the legitimate way to go about a new plebiscite.

Finally, Mr Speaker, the past 48 hours in Westminster really have left me with a feeling of politics and democracy being practiced almost as an extreme sport for thrill seekers. But we must hold our nerve and we must hold our heads up high, and we must hold on for any result. But we must hope for developments that enable us, at best to remain in the European Union or at the very worst to leave, but with a deal.

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