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LONDON - Britain is "steadfast" in its commitment to Gibraltar and will work with the territory on the southern tip of Spain to secure the best possible outcome from Brexit talks, Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday.
The European Union proposed on Friday offering Spain a right of veto over Gibraltar's future trade relations with the bloc. That would give Madrid sway over the fate of the enclave once Britain has left the bloc and the status of its overseas territory is no longer an internal EU matter.
Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713, but has long called for it to be returned.
A former leader of May's Conservative party, Michael Howard, said she would even be prepared to go to war to defend the territory, as then prime minister Margaret Thatcher did with Argentina over the Falkland Islands 35 years ago.
Downing Street said May reiterated that Britain "remains steadfastly committed" to its support for Gibraltar, its people and its economy, in a call with the territory's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.
"The Prime Minister said we will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes, nor will we ever enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content," a spokeswoman said.
"The Prime Minister said we remain absolutely dedicated to working with Gibraltar for the best possible outcome on Brexit, and will continue to involve them fully in the process."
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