FABIAN Picardo believes Gibraltar can look forward to a prosperous future despite ongoing uncertainty caused by Brexit.

The Chief Minister made the claim in an optimistic and spirited New Year’s message in which he vowed Gibraltar would remain in the driving seat as negotiations continue.

“It’s about setting Gibraltar up for the next fifty years of Gibraltarian success and prosperity,” the Chief Minister told the press.

“It’s about giving our children the benefits and tools we have had.

“It’s about everything we do today making tomorrow better for them.

“In so doing, we will secure for our future generations a Gibraltar that is a thriving, socio-economic success for the first half of this twenty first century.”

Picardo confirmed he had received a ‘cast iron commitment’ from the UK Secretary of State David Davis that no trade deal with the EU would be agreed unless it included Gibraltar.

He also enthused about the close relationship between his government and Theresa May’s and how the two would continue to work closely together to achieve the best outcome for both parties.

“The Gibraltar Brexit Team is led by me alongside the resolute and determined Deputy Chief Minister, Joseph Garcia,” he said.

“As we have done before in our history, we must work in partnership with the United Kingdom.

“Despite that, on the occasions where we have disagreed with the UK, we have fought Gibraltar’s corner as you would expect us to: with facts, with logic and with passion.

“And, as a result, we have built a strong political relationship with Prime Minister May’s government.”

Picardo also seeked to allay fears that Brexit would hamper economic performance, reiterating May’s government’s commitment to allow Gibraltar continued market access to the UK.

“Given that 90% of our financial services trade is with the United Kingdom, securing this access has been a crucial and decisive success that will deliver potentially huge economic benefits going forward,” the Chief Minister said.

“This success means that Gibraltar will retain its attraction as a highly regulated, highly reputable and highly desirable place from which to do business with the United Kingdom.

“Indeed, some companies are already relocating to Gibraltar based on this guarantee.”

He also vowed that it would be strictly business as usual for residents, tourists and cross-frontier workers post Brexit.

“In respect of all aspects of how Gibraltar’s withdrawal, transition and future relationship with the EU develops, we will have the crucial veto ourselves,” Picardo said.

“This should be clear to the whole of the European Union and the United Kingdom.

“For, in Gibraltar, parliament will be the place where the final decision is made on the implementation of Brexit in Gibraltar.

“Gibraltar has not been paralysed by Brexit. Far from it.”