A controversial footnote to EU legislation referring to Gibraltar as a “colony” sparked uproar in Brussels today.
Eight British MEPs voted against the post Brexit visa legislation at the Justice and Civil Liberties Committee in protest at the inflammatory description.
West Midlands Independent MEP James Carver told the committee the union would never be “united in diversity” whilst national interests took precedence.
He along with Conservative, Labour, UKIP and Brexit Party MEPs were “outraged” the Council of Ministers had agreed to add the footnote to the legislation allowing UK nationals to travel to the EU without visas after Brexit.
The offending footnote states: Gibraltar is a colony of the British Crown. There is controversy between Spain and the UK concerning the sovereignty over Gibraltar, a territory for which a solution has to be reached in light of the relevant resolutions and decisions of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Mr Carver said: “I’m furious that the Spanish put pressure at the Council of Ministers to add this wholly inaccurate statement. Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory – we do not have colonies.
“The Spanish have done this to inflame the situation, ahead of their forthcoming general election, and are trying to bully Gibraltar by rejecting our demands for the deletion of the footnote.
“I am also appalled that this has resulted in the removal of the highly respected Labour MEP Claude Moraes as rapporteur for the draft document in favour of a Bulgarian MEP.”
Although the draft was approved 38 to 8, an amendment, which Mr. Carver has signed, removing the footnote, has been prepared for tomorrow’s plenary vote.