|If Joint sovereignty' Straw becomes Prime Minister what happens to Gibraltar?||28th July 2008|
|'Joint sovereignty' minister Jack Straw could land the job of Prime Minister, as Gordon Brown's popularity recedes and questions are asked about his future.
Although Straw has been saying in public that it is his view that Brown should continue in the top job, a campaign has already been initiated to gather support for Straw.
If the support is forthcoming, Brown would be told the time is up and he should allow Straw to try and save Labour.
Straw is just one of several cabinet ministers whose loyalty to Brown is in doubt, said the Sunday Times yesterday. David Miliband, the foreign secretary, was reportedly spotted drinking at a bar with union leaders, who will play a key role in deciding the succession.
Miliband was at the Labour Policy Forum at Warwick University, with people wondering what was he doing there as he does not have a major role in the policy forum nor is he close to the trade union movement.
After the Glasgow East by-election flop, talk about the succession of Brown has gripped the Labour movement. This was a safe seat that Labour should have easily retained.
Miliband, who chaired the recent tripartite meeting in London, is said to have leadership ambitions, but with Labour in the doldrums it is not clear if he would make a bid for it just yet.
As a senior Labour minister, Straw is seen as the most likely person to be pushed into a leadership stake.
If he were to take the plunge and succeed,'Britain would have a prime Minister who wants Gibraltar's sovereignty to be shared with Spain. When he visited Gibraltar at the time of the 2002 sovereignty plan, he was jeered in the streets. Later, it emerged he was leading what the Tories labelled a sell-out.
Straw spent a year in secret conclave with the Spanish working out the joint sovereignty deal.
The then Europe minister Peter Hain was close to clinching the deal, but at the last moment the Spanish pulled back on instructions from Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who was to sack his foreign minister Josep Pique.
We have made significant progress towards a solution, Straw told Parliament in July 2002. He was foreign secretary at the time.
The planned joint declaration would have been a comprehensive package to include a new draft treaty which would be ratified after a referendum in Gibraltar.
But Britain had its red lines" that needed to be upheld by Spain, including the referendum and particularly that joint sovereignty would not extend to the military base.
There were cries of 'sell out' when Straw referred in Parliament to the deal including that Britain and Spain would share sovereignty over Gibraltar, including the disputed terriory of the isthmus.
The kind of goodies that would accrue would include a
freer flowing frontier, more telephone lines and EU developments - the kind of things that have featured in the tripartite.
DISGRACE AND SELL-OUT
Straw was suggesting that the joint sovereignty deal would offer Gibraltar and its people "a great prize", but staunch Gibraltar supporters like Conservative Michael Ancram spoke of "a disgrace and a sell out."
He added: The key to the Foreign Secretary's statement is his admission that the British and Spanish Governments are in broad agreement to share sovereignty over Gibraltar. That is what we have feared has long been cooked up in the dishonourable talks that have taken place.
The joint sovereignty deal was overwhelmingly rejected in the 2002 Gibraltar referendum.
However, it is noted that Britain did not reject it. Could it be revived?
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