Gibraltar

Exiting the European Union – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th October 2018.

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Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston Conservative, Mid Worcestershire 12:00 am, 25th October 2018

What steps the Government are taking to ensure that HM Government of Gibraltar is consulted throughout the negotiations for the UK to leave the EU.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

The Government remain committed to fully involving the Government of Gibraltar as we leave the EU together. We have been working closely together including through the Joint Ministerial Council for Gibraltar on EU negotiations, which has met seven times since the referendum. In addition, I am in regular contact with the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, most recently at the Gibraltar Day celebrations in London this week, when we both welcomed the real progress made in negotiations.

Photo of Nigel Huddleston Nigel Huddleston Conservative, Mid Worcestershire

I warmly welcome the apparent agreement on Gibraltar with our Spanish friends—and I do mean friends, because 10,000 Spaniards work in Gibraltar every day, the UK is Spain’s fifth biggest trading partner, and 18 million Brits went to Spain last year. Will the Minister confirm that it is in the best interests of Spain, Gibraltar and the UK that we have as frictionless a flow of goods, tourists and workers as possible?

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

My hon. Friend is absolutely right: a good deal is in the interests of all sides. Gibraltar is an engine of prosperity for the surrounding area, and a deal that benefits Gibraltar will also benefit the wider region. A well-managed and smoothly operational Gibraltar-Spain border is vital for prosperity. It is important not only for the flow of frontier workers, but, as my hon. Friend says, for the flow of tourists and other visitors, who make a key contribution to Gibraltar’s thriving economy. And our strong relations with Spain are underpinned by deep economic, cultural and people-to-people links, which we want to strengthen moving forward. We look forward to enhanced co-operation, which will benefit Spain, Gibraltar and the UK.

Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill Chair, Justice Committee, Chair, Justice Committee

I refer to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is most significant indeed that yesterday the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, in saluting the support the Prime Minister has personally given to the negotiations, observed that for the first time the Prime Minister of Spain has publicly accepted that the inclusion of a protocol to protect the interests of Gibraltar is a done deal if there is a deal and an agreement? Does that not demonstrate how important it is for any friend of Gibraltar that there is a deal and it is carried in this House?

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I know that he has worked assiduously through the all-party parliamentary group on Gibraltar to protect and promote the interests of Gibraltar. I would like to return the compliment to the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, who has played a crucial role in these negotiations.