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Picardo to give evidence to Commons’ Northern Ireland committee

File photo dated 15/06/16 of traffic crossing the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the village of Bridgend, Co Donegal. Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo will give evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee of the House of Commons this week.

Mr Picardo will answer questions from the committee on Wednesday as part of its work on Brexit.

The session comes at a time when the much attention has been focused on the issue of the future of Northern Ireland’s border with Ireland, the UK’s only land border with the EU other than Gibraltar’s frontier with Spain.

The future EU/UK land border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is one of three issues -- along with the exit bill and safeguarding expatriate rights -- that Brussels wants broadly solved before it decides in December whether to give the green light to move on to talks on future trade relations.

Mr Picardo, who will be accompanied at the session by deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia and Attorney General Michael Llamas, is likely to be quizzed on the workings of Gibraltar’s border with Spain, including issues such as frontier workers’ rights and passport controls.

The Committee will also be interested to hear how the Gibraltar delegation views the possible effects of Brexit on the border with Spain.

The Gibraltar delegation leaves for London today ahead of a full day of meetings with UK Government officials from a range of departments on Tuesday.

The meetings will be held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and are a continuation of Brexit-related work carried out to date under the auspices of the Joint Ministerial Council for Gibraltar and Brexit.

Brexit working groups have been established on matters like financial services, online gaming, the environment, the border and transport, and these groups continue to work in between the main meetings of the JMC.

Mr Picardo and Dr Garcia return to Gibraltar on Wednesday.

In their absence, the Minister for Education and the Environment Dr John Cortes will act as Chief Minister.

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