§ 3. Mr. Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley)
If he will make a statement on telecommunications in Gibraltar. 
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Keith Vaz)
As we made clear in our response on 31 October to the Foreign Affairs Committee report on Gibraltar, we have stayed in close contact with the European Commission, emphasising the urgency of the situation and our expectation that the Commission will uphold Gibraltar's rights in the European Union. We have informed the Commission that we consider the complaints made by operators in Gibraltar to be well founded. In consultation with the Government of Gibraltar, we are continuing our efforts with the Spanish Government and the Commission to resolve this important issue.
§ Mr. Hoyle
I am sure that my hon. Friend shares my concern at the fact that Spain still refuses to recognise the international code for Gibraltar and that businesses in Gibraltar are being held back by the lack of available telephone numbers. That has been highlighted recently by the failure of the Spanish Minister of Defence to telephone the Chief Minister over a visit to the submarine HMS Tireless. We are all aware of the difficulties, and I look forward to an early resolution of them.
§ Mr. Vaz
My hon. Friend is right. I know of his great interest in these matters as a member of the Gibraltar parliamentary group and owing to his many visits to the country. The issue is important. As he knows, 30,000 telephone numbers have been allocated through the Cadiz exchange, and they will run out next year. Therefore, for the people of Gibraltar, the issue is very serious. I have discussed the matter with Chief Minister Caruana, as has my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Hoyle). I spoke yesterday afternoon to the Governor of Gibraltar. I assure my hon. Friend that we have raised the concerns with the Commission and expect it to do something positive to resolve the situation; otherwise, my hon. Friend will not be able to ring his friends in Gibraltar and they will not be able to ring out.
§ Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)
These soothing bromides simply will not do. What is the precise nature of the renewed efforts to which, in their response to the recent Foreign Affairs Committee report, the Government committed themselves? Did the Prime Minister raise the matter at the Anglo-Spanish talks last month? What exactly was the result?
§ Mr. Vaz
I shall not rise to the challenge to appoint the hon. Gentleman as our special envoy to sort out the problem because it requires very careful dialogue.
144 That dialogue has continued over the past few months. Of course the matters have been raised. The Prime Minister raises issues concerned with Gibraltar on every occasion when he meets the Spanish Prime Minister; my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has done so with the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs; and I have done so. We will continue to work carefully and appropriately in order to resolve the issue. That is a better approach than that suggested by the hon. Gentleman.