UK MEP attacked for insisting Gibraltar is not a colony

A British Labour MEP of 20 years has told of an orchestrated attempt to hound him out of a key role in the European parliament on the basis of his nationality.

Claude Moraes claims to have had his position systematically attacked, with the encouragement of Spain, after blocking EU “no deal” legislation that proposed to describe Gibraltar as a colony in a footnote. 

Senior Spanish MEPs have been seeking to push Moraes out of his role as the chamber’s rapporteur, a role in which his job is to represent MEPs’ views on draft legislation, reports The Guardian.

The row culminated on Tuesday morning with the MEP being asked to step down by the European parliament’s speaker, Antonio Tajani.

“And I told him: no,” Moraes said. “The inclusion of this footnote on Gibraltar was a political act which is now being defended by 27 member states and the commission in an unprecedented way.”

The MEP said his own vulnerability showed how the UK’s weakness would be exploited by the EU in the years to come.

“For five weeks the pressure has been systematic,” Moraes added. “The attacks in the Spanish press have been very brutal, very personal, and consistently so. There has been pressure by all the political groups in the European parliament with Spanish members. There have been meetings where I have been attacked systematically – it has been an intimidatory atmosphere.”

The Guardian goes on to say that Moraes had said he had no doubt that Spain was behind the attempt to unseat him or that it was linked to the coming general election in which the socialist government is seeking to minimise the damage from the growing populist party, Vox.

The Labour MEP added that he had proposed various compromise footnotes over the past five weeks referring to the continuing dispute over the sovereignty of Gibraltar but they had all been dismissed out of hand.

Gibraltar is not a colony, he insists. "If it was described as a colony, Spain would be able to start making claims in international law, and that is why they wanted this definition. And the people of Gibraltar were extremely alarmed because once it is used in this context it will be used again and again.”


IN GIBRALTAR last night, the Chief Minister said that “Mr Moraes has behaved properly and impeccably in standing up for the mandate given to him by his Committee in the face of outrageous attempts to bully and intimidate him by Spanish Partido Popular MEPs and interests.”