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Fury as Gibraltar would have to ‘follow EU rules’ under new Brexit deal


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Gibraltar might have to adhere to certain EU regulations under the terms of the new Brexit deal, in order to cave to Spain’s concerns over border management.

The admission by ministers has sparked considerable alarm among Tory MPs, who fear it could compromise British sovereignty over the territory.

David Rutley, the UK minister for Gibraltar, underscored the significance of safeguarding the territory’s sovereignty as a “red line” during discussions with the Commons European Scrutiny Committee.

However, concerns persist regarding the potential implications of the concessions made to secure a more open border with Spain.

The negotiations, spearheaded by Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron, aim to resolve the post-Brexit impasse surrounding Gibraltar’s future.

Despite the announcement of the agreement on the “core elements” of the pact last month, questions loom large over the extent of Gibraltar’s autonomy within the EU framework.

Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory with a long-standing history of tension between the UK and Spain, finds itself at the centre of this diplomatic tug-of-war. Madrid’s persistent claims of sovereignty over the territory have complicated negotiations, with pressure mounting ahead of crucial European Parliament elections.

A crucial aspect of the recent revelations is the potential involvement of European judges in resolving disputes concerning Gibraltar. While the European Court of Justice (ECJ) may not directly enforce EU rules on the Rock, there are concerns over possible referrals to the Luxembourg-based court, raising fears of encroachment on British sovereignty.

Sir Bill Cash, chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, stressed the paramount importance of preserving Gibraltar’s sovereignty amidst the negotiations. Former Brexit minister David Jones echoed these sentiments, warning against any compromise that could result in a “diminution of British sovereignty”.

Despite these concerns, David Rutley assured the committee that Gibraltar’s government supported the proposed deal and emphasised that any agreement would be contingent on safeguarding the territory’s sovereignty and the UK’s military facilities in Gibraltar.

As discussions continue, the fate of Gibraltar, home to over 32,000 people, hangs in the balance.

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