Sir Lindsay, who replaced John Bercow in the role in November, is a passionate believer in Gibraltar’s right to remain a member of the British family – and took the opportunity to stress his determination to “invigorate” Britain’s relationship with its 14 overseas territories, of which Gibraltar is one. He famously clashed with former Tony Blair after the then-Prime Minister struck a deal in 2002 which would have seen the British overseas territory be partially ruled by Spain after 300 years of British rule – an agreement which was subsequently vetoed in Madrid because it would have seen the UK retain a Royal Navy base.
Sir Lindsay, was appointed by Gilbert Licudi, Gibraltar’s Minister for Education, succeeding Lord Luce, the first Chancellor having held the position since 2015.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle says he was “honoured beyond belief”.
The small, narrow peninsula in the southern tip of Europe had “always held a special place in my heart”, said the former Labour MP for Chorley.
He added: “To become Chancellor of this magnificent university in a place I have an acute interest in is a privilege I will treasure for many years to come.
“Not only have I, and my father Doug, had a long association with Gibraltar, but it is one of the UK’s overseas territories to which we owe a great duty of care.
“I want to reinvigorate our relationships with the overseas territories and some of Britain’s most remote outposts – to show them how important they are to us in Westminster.
“I can’t wait to visit Gibraltar again – and to accept this huge honour of becoming its next University Chancellor.”
Mr Licudi said Sir Lindsay “has been a great friend of Gibraltar for many years”.
He added: “We could think of no better person to take over from Lord Luce – our first Chancellor – who has been a great source of advice and assistance since 2015.”
Sir Lindsay has visited Gibraltar regularly during his career.
According to then-Europe minister Peter Hain, Mr Blair’s deal would have seen Spain granted joint sovereignty – even though the vast majority of Gibraltarians want to remain British.
Sir Lindsay’s angry opposition to the idea is thought to have cost him a place on the Labour front benches – and he subsequently admitted he had “blotted his copy book very early on” – while adding: “I still think it was the right thing to do.”
Yesterday the Brexit saga took yet another twist when the Gibraltar Government hit back over Spanish claims they were winning the sovereignty battle to seize back the Rock.
A source, speaking to a Spanish newspaper, pointed to a line in the document agreed by the EU27 countries authorising the start of trade negotiations which stated: “Any agreement between the Union and the United Kingdom negotiated on the basis of these negotiating directives will not include Gibraltar.”
The source claimed: “We are already gaining sovereignty without calling it sovereignty, by recovering fiscal sovereignty.”
However, A HM Government of Gibraltar spokesman said: “The Spanish don’t know what to say anymore.
“They are clutching at straws because they have gained nothing on sovereignty, they are gaining nothing on sovereignty and they will gain nothing on sovereignty.
“The sooner they realise that the sooner they can stop brazenly lying to their people.”
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