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by RAY FLEMING
AT Tuesday's ceremony at St Clement Danes, Strand, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of British sovereignty over Gibraltar, the Queen was represented by the Duke of Kent and the Prime Minister by Baroness Symons, Minister of State at the Foreign Office; Michael Howard represented himself as did Baroness Thatcher. There was an impressive turn out from the Armed Services and from other organisations and individuals with interests in Gibraltar. Peter Caruana, Gibraltar's Chief Minister, said in his address that “We are celebrating 300 years of belonging to the great British family”. The absence of Queen Elizabeth and of any senior member of the British government told its own story. The closeness between Jose Maria Aznar and Tony Blair failed to produce any progress in the Anglo/Spanish dispute over Gibraltar so it is unlikely that any meaningful development will take place when Sr Aznar's successor takes office. Indeed, matters look likely to get worse. Britain's bizarre decision to redraw the European map and make Gibraltar part of the South West of England for electoral purposes has understandably angered Madrid. While the Gibraltarians prepare to vote alongside the citizens of Torquay and Plymouth in June's European elections, Spain is planning to go to the European Court of Justice to challenge this arrangement. Meanwhile, Mr Caruana said on Tuesday that he intends to ask the British Government to give Gibraltar a new constitution that would eradicate all traces of a colonial relationship in the hope that this would get rid of Spain's claim to be acting on a 1963 United Nations resolution that called for an end to Gibraltar's “colonial” status. Sooner or later - probably later - Gibraltar and Spain will have to agree to some form of shared sovereignty under European Union or United Nations auspices.