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Commons committee to quiz Morton on Gibraltar’s post-Brexit future

REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The European Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons will question Foreign Office Minister Wendy Morton on Gibraltar’s post-Brexit future during a one-off evidence session on Wednesday.

The Committee is likely to examine the differences in the UK and EU negotiating positions ahead of talks for UK/EU treaty on the Rock’s post-Brexit relations with the bloc.

It will also likely explore the temporary bridging arrangements pending those talks and the implications if no deal can be reached with the EU on Gibraltar.

“Although Gibraltar, like the UK, has left the EU, the terms of the trade deal which regulates tariffs and the movement of people, do not cover the British territory,” the committee said in a statement announcing the session.

“Instead, it relies on temporary, informal arrangements to keep open its critical artery with Spain through which thousands of workers commute and vital food and goods arrive every day.”

“The arrangements also cover cross-border road transport, healthcare, waste disposal and data.”

“A joint framework paving the way to a permanent solution to ensuring smooth movement of goods and people across the border was agreed by the UK, Spain and Gibraltar at the end of December 2020.”

“However, in July the European Commission detailed its negotiating position for a Gibraltar deal which then Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab characterised as directly conflicting with the agreed framework, not least because it would result in Spanish officials managing Gibraltar’s border.”

“Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares later reiterated his country’s commitment to the December Framework.”
“Tensions are not eased by historic territorial claims over ‘The Rock’ by Spain.”

Mrs Morton was recently in Gibraltar for National Day and meetings with the Gibraltar Government.

Accompanying the minister at the session on Wednesday will be Robbie Bulloch, the Director Gibraltar-EU Negotiations and Deputy Chief Negotiator at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and Andrew Dalgleish, Deputy Director Gibraltar-EU Negotiations at Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The session will start at 2.30pm UK time in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

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