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Gibraltar and UK push ahead with Brexit planning in London meetings

The Gibraltar and UK governments yesterday signed an agreement that underscores the primacy of the Gibraltar Parliament, the Gibraltar Government and Gibraltar’s competent authorities in the Brexit process as it applies to the Rock.

The agreement, known as a Concordat, is part of the package of documents that make clear the context in which the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement has been concluded between the two governments.

It was signed by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and David Lidington, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the UK’s de facto Deputy Prime Minister.

“It is a highly significant document which upholds the primacy of the Parliament, the Government and the competent authorities of Gibraltar,” a spokesman for the Gibraltar Government said.

“Given the current political situation at Westminster, this is part of the preparations for EU Exit with a Withdrawal Agreement in place.”

The document was signed ahead of a meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council on Brexit and Gibraltar, which yesterday brought together over 30 ministers and officials from the UK and Gibraltar to discuss preparations ahead of the withdrawal deadline on March 29.

The Gibraltar team was led by Mr Picardo and included Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, Attorney General Michael Llamas and Financial Secretary Albert Mena.

The UK delegation was led by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the EU, Robin Walker, and included the Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan, Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster, Treasury Minister John Glen and Mims Davies, Minister at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

The meeting was updated on the planning for a no deal Brexit both in Gibraltar and the UK.

“This is in line with the policy of the government to prepare for every eventuality,” the spokesman for No.6 Convent Place said.

“A general discussion on the future arrangements also took place.

And in another significant development, Mr Picardo and Ms Davies signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between gambling regulators in the UK and Gibraltar.

The agreement “…will enable closer working between gambling regulators in Great Britain and Gibraltar,” Ms Davies said in a tweet.

During their stay in London this week, the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister also met with senior members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords for discussions on Brexit.

Mr Picardo was also due to meet last night with the chief executive of Sky following the broadcaster’s decision to pull the plug on the unlicensed viewing of its channels in Gibraltar.