Theresa May said calling Gibraltar a colony was unacceptable

Third of businesses ‘could shift operations abroad because of Brexit

Third of businesses ‘could shift operations abroad because of Brexit

The UK's ambassador to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow, objected to it at a meeting in Brussels earlier.

Proposals that would mean Britons do not require a visa for short visits to the European Union after Brexit, even in the event of no deal, are a step closer to being rubber-stamped.

A spokesperson said: "Gibraltar is not a colony and it is completely inappropriate to describe in this way".

"This will not change due to our exit from the EU. All parties should respect the people of Gibraltar's democratic wish to be British".

Downing Street has clashed with Brussels over its description of Gibraltar as a "colony".

The seven square-kilometre peninsula is an internal, self-governing British overseas territory.

"The 32,000 people of Gibraltar are used to the constant attempts by successive Spanish governments to bully us in every possible way".

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The 27 remaining member states agreed to offer Britons visa-free travel to the EU's borderless Schengen area after Brexit in March, even if talks on a broader withdrawal treaty collapse, on condition that Britain offers the same terms to EU citizens visiting for up to 90 days, according to the European Council's document.

Member states have now agreed to the proposition after a meeting between European Union ambassadors.

In particular, it stated: "Gibraltar is a colony of the British Crown".

The row highlighted strains over the territory on Spain's southern coast as Britain quits the Union and the remainder of the EU states swing the bloc's policies behind Spain, which is taking advantage of Brexit to ramp up its claim to The Rock. The European Court of Justice said in rulings in 2006 and 2017 that Gibraltar was "a colony of the British crown" and not part of the United Kingdom.

Finding in Britain's favor against Spain in a case in 2006, the European Court of Justice stated: "Gibraltar is now a British Crown Colony".

The UN General Assembly adopted a recommendation from its Decolonisation Committee for the two countries to reach a solution through "dialogue and co-operation".

Hammond also noted that the United Kingdom had always had a vision of itself as a part of the world, not just Europe, adding that the country was well positioned to develop trade relations with various expanding markets.

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