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Lords quiz CM on Brexit and Gibraltar

Gibraltar can live with “a hard border” as long as it is “a collaborative border”, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the House of Lords EU Committee during an inquiry on Brexit and Gibraltar.

Mr Picardo was speaking at an evidence session at the House of Lords yesterday during which he was asked a series of probing questions regarding Gibraltar’s Brexit concerns.

He was accompanied in Westminster by Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia and Attorney General Michael Llamas.

Peers questioned Mr Picardo as to the reason behind Gibraltar’s mammoth 96% referendum result in favour of remaining in the EU, the Rock’s reaction to the overall result and the economic and human implications of Brexit.

Mr Picardo explained that the area of greatest concern for Gibraltar will turn on the application of the external frontier regime at the Gibraltar-Spain border, but also access to the EU’s single market for services.

During an hour-long session, the committee heard in detail about Gibraltar’s relationship with the EU and its concerns about the potential impact of Brexit on free movement at the border.

But the peers also heard how Gibraltar already had a ‘hard border’ of sorts.

Spain is in Schengen, whereas Gibraltar is not, they were told. The same applies to membership of the EU customs union.

“This is the sort of ‘hard border’ that people are fretting about,” Mr Picardo said.

And while there was no doubt that Spain had used the border as a political stick in the past, there had also been periods where frontier flow was fluid.

The key, the Lords committee was told, was “good will and good faith on both sides”.

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