Britain’s commitment to include Gibraltar within the scope of its Brexit deal “could not be clearer”, the House of Lords was told yesterday.
Lord Callanan, the Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, made the statement while responding to a battery of questions from peers on Gibraltar.
He insisted Gibraltar was being fully involved in the Brexit negotiations and was covered by any future agreement, adding that Spain had engaged with the UK Government on this issue in a “constructive and helpful” manner.
And in a parallel development, Brexit Secretary David Davis told a Lords’ EU select committee that the UK Government was “…working on the premise that both the implementation period and the future arrangement would cover Gibraltar.”
“It’s not to say there won’t be some scratchy negotiation with one or other individual country,” Mr Davis added.
“There’ll be some scratchy negotiation over it, but our intention is that the [implementation period] and the future arrangement should cover Gibraltar.”
The exchanges in the Lords came as the European Union approved its guidelines for the second phase of the Brexit discussions, including possible transitional arrangements.
In a brief meeting in Brussels, the EU27 gave their approval to new guidelines for chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, ahead of talks expected to conclude in March.
The guidelines adopted yesterday made a specific reference to Gibraltar and the Clause 24 veto already granted by the EU to Spain, which seeks to give Madrid a controlling say on the application of any future or transitional deal to Gibraltar.
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