Fabian Picardo: inclusion on the list of cities is "hugely symbolic". / sur

UK finally recognises Gibraltar's city status, having forgotten about it since 1842

Chief minister Fabian Picardo said the recognition is of little practical significance but is hugely symbolic in this Jubilee year and when Gibraltar's relationship with the UK is stronger than ever

DEBBIE BARTLETT Gibraltar

Gibraltar has always known that it was a city, ever since Queen Victoria granted it that status in 1842. However, somebody at the time presumably forgot to add it to the official list of British cities and that has finally been recognised by the UK.

This does not mean that Gibraltar has now become a city, despite reports in some UK media that give that impression. As chief minister Fabian Picardo explained in an interview with the BBC this Monday morning, Gibraltar's application earlier this year to be recognised as a city, as part of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, was not for it to be granted that status but for it to be included on the list, where it should have been for the past 180 years anyway.

Picardo pointed out that the preamble to the Gibraltar Constitution has always referred to the City of Gibraltar, and all official documentation since 1842 has done the same. What has happened is that this fact has finally been "taken on board" in the UK, he said.

When asked why Gibraltar had not been on the list of cities before, he said he could only think that somebody had not compiled the list accurately, and although the recognition is of little practical significance and will make very little difference because all relevant parts have already been in effect since 1842, it is "hugely symbolic" during this Jubilee Year and at a time when Gibraltar's relationship with the UK is stronger than ever.

"It is a good time to reflect on the relationship between Gibraltar and the UK," he said, and maybe people would also like to think about coming and visiting the City of Gibraltar, too.