The People’s Party blasted Mr Sanchez for not forcing Theresa May’s hand over the British Overseas Territory at an EU summit on Sunday. Despite the Spaniard gloating an agreement between him and Mrs May had given Spain “strength” to further push for ownership over Gibraltar post-Brexit, his deputy Javier Maroto, said he should have done more. Mr Maroto said: “Sánchez speaks of a historical agreement, and we speak of a historical stupidity.” He added “we have lost an opportunity of three centuries to win Gibraltar”.
He later said at a press conference: “If the negotiations had been with Germany and France, we would have a binding agreement between May and Merkel or May and Macron.”
And bringing Mr Sanchez’s leadership into question, he referenced past leaders of Spain, adding a missed opportunity would not have happened “neither before with Rajoy, nor later with Casado”.
Today it emerged a royal intervention over Gibraltar took place after Mr Sánchez begged the King of Spain for help in the Brexit crisis over the Rock.
King Felipe reportedly held emergency talks with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker as Spain threatened to vote against Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement at last weekend’s EU summit.
Spain had demanded assurances that talks over Gibraltar’s inclusion in any future trade arrangement would be held bilaterally between the UK and Madrid.
According to Spanish news website El Confidential Digital, the King and Mr Juncker held “fundamental” talks during 48 hours of crunch discussions in the run-up to the summit.
Spain voted in favour of Mrs May’s deal after she agreed to give Spain a say over Gibraltar.
Mr Sanchez then angered Brexiteers by saying: “With Brexit we all lose, especially the United Kingdom, but when it comes to Gibraltar, Spain wins.”
Referring to a drive for co-sovereignty over the Rock, which has been British since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, he then said: “We will talk about everything. The goal is to solve, once and for all, a conflict that has lasted 300 years.”
Gibraltar was given a referendum in 2002 over whether residents wanted to share sovereignty with Spain.
The nation voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining British by 98.97 percent.
Just 1.03 percent voted in favour of the proposal.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.