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Explicit terms needed	colonial place in the world. I didn’t find We need that reassurance to be at the forefront	public speaking difficult and quite enjoyed of London’s thinking when dealing with the	it”. He joined Sir Joshua’s Association for impact of Brexit on us.	the Advancement of Civil Rights (AACR)
“I recognise that the UK doesn’t at this	Party and having championed the idea of stage want to set out more red lines than it	Gibraltar’s potential for free association with needs to. There is some understandable	the UK, he gained huge support for concern however, that whilst the UK may be	decolonisation to be a manifesto policy able to preserve some of our current benefits	commitment at the 1984 AACR annual it may face opposition in securing all that we	conference. want.”	“But Sir Joshua, who was Chief
And he adds forcibly: “London should	Minister at the time – concerned, I assume, of not forget that we voted overwhelmingly to	how this might be incendiary, like a remain in the EU and preserve our current	bombshell, in London - instead made it a vote arrangements: this places a real responsibility	of confidence. It was a case of either vote [on the UK] to listen to our united voice.”	down my resolution, or he would quit.	It was
A Hassans partner since 1988, he was	quite extraordinary – I was 24 at the time and not steered into becoming a lawyer by his	I couldn’t believe it - so he swung the vote family; his GP father, Cecil (now aged	against.” 86 years and effectively Gibraltar’s first	Montegriffo smiles: “I became quite consultant psychiatrist) never once interfered	wedded to the notion that Gibraltar should with Montegriffo’s life choices, beyond	seek decolonization by retaining the Crown as providing a moral context.	the holder of our sovereignty, but effectively
At University the young Montegriffo,	becoming jurisdictionally independent under studying English and French, quickly realised	the Crown. I even obtained an opinion from that his career options would be limited at the	Sir James Fawcett, one of the pre-eminent time to teaching or a Civil Service position,	constitutional lawyers in London, at the time, which did not attract. After just one month he	that confirmed free association would not was fortunate to be allowed to switch into a	breach of the Treaty of Utrecht under which law course. His strong interests were in	Spain ceded Gibraltar in 1713 to the British literature, drama and theatre, and reasoned	Crown in perpetuity.” This would be so, given that “there’s a lot of theatre and drama in law	that with free association there would be so my transition should be quite seamless”, he	continuity of sovereignty held by the British reminisces.	Crown, Montegriffo notes.
He concedes: “Yes, I was probably seen Decolonisation rift	as a bit of an upstart by some in the Party and In 1982-84 Montegriffo started to build his	some opposed my standing for election in political profile. “I was always engaged with	1984.	But so far as Sir Joshua was concerned, wanting to define and promote our post	I believe he always had a great deal of affection for me.” Montegriffo didn’t stand for election that year, failing to win enough support, but he recalls Sir Joshua saying as they walked from the meeting that he was ‘sorry you lost the vote, but don’t worry your time will come and I would have loved to
have worked with you’.
Political success
By 1988 Sir Joshua had left and Montegriffo stood for election achieving the second highest number of votes for the AACR, and even though he was the youngest (aged 28) and newest AACR MP, he became deputy leader to Adolfo Canepa in Opposition.	Joe Bossano, the Gibraltar Socialist & Liberal Party (GSLP) leader, became Chief Minister (and is the elder statesman in today’s GSLP government).
“In the late 80’s and early 90’s there was
a new sense of excitement. We really did think that opportunities were opening up for Gibraltar and this was a time when we could make history: Europe was redefining itself – Spain and Portugal joined the EU in 1986 and the complete opening of the frontier with Spain in 1985 meant Europe became a new reality for us. So it was an important time to make a public contribution”, Montegriffo reasons.
Montegriffo quite enjoys public speaking
He wanted to bring about change in things that had long prevailed, rather than “simply shore up some of the features that endeared people to the place. In that sense I sided with a progressive agenda – I wanted to move forward and modernise; I felt the need to drag ourselves into a new space.”
He sometimes regards himself as the first of the modern Gibraltar politicians: “If you look at the politicians before me, they had mostly come out of the war or pre-war generations, and were linked to either the trade union movement, or landed or trading families - there wasn’t the sort of younger politician of middle class background that had simply made his way through life.”
However, frustrated by the performance of his Party in not actively challenging the government, Montegriffo resigned his Party membership after two years and sat as an independent MP. Three months later he formed the present-day Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD) with a group of activists.
Retreating into law
But having battled with both the GSLP government and the AACR opposition, he gained a high profile and, being “probably the most vociferous MP at the time”, it led to ”a crossroads in my life”. In 1991, Hassans felt
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Gibraltar International

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