Brexiteer sounds dire Gibraltar ‘sellout’ warning as he highlights five huge risks | Politics | News

Any “sellout” deal with respect to Gibraltar’s future relationship with the European Union will expose the British overseas territory to five key risks, a leading Brexiteer has warned.

Robert Oulds, director of the Bruges Group think tank, was speaking on the day Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron headed for Brussels for a second round of talks with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic, Spanish foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares and Fabian Picardo, the Rock’s chief minister.

The nature of that relationship remains unresolved following Brexit, with rules governing Gibraltar’s border with Spain understood to be a major sticking point.

Sir Bill Cash, a Eurosceptic Conservative MP and chairman of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee, had previously warned negotiations over Gibraltar risked becoming “Northern Ireland Protocol 2.0” and Mr Oulds is likewise deeply concerned.

Referring to Mr Picardo’s government, he told “They may accept being stabbed in the back by Cameron thinking they need to do the deal before Labour get in. What he does not realise is that Cameron is just ‘blue Labour’.”

Setting out what was at stake, Mr Oulds said: “There is a risk of Gibraltar coming under EU control; a loss of vital infrastructure; alignment with Spain; loss of control of territorial waters along with fishing and building rights; and a loss of financial autonomy.”

In a letter to Foreign Office minister David Rutley last week, Sir Bill said proposals outlined to his committee represented “a serious diminution of UK sovereignty”.

Of particular concern was the possibility that EU border checks could be carried out at Gibraltar’s airport, which Sir Bill said would “erode UK sovereignty to the point of meaninglessness”.

The Foreign Office has previously said the UK remains steadfast in support for Gibraltar and will not agree to anything that compromises sovereignty.

Mr Picardo has been unequivocal is his determiantion for Gibraltar to remain aligned with Britian, saying earlier this month: “Over my dead body will there be any diminution of British sovereignty over Gibraltar relation to these arrangements which are being negotiated in the context of immigration or movement of goods.

“Yes of course there will be practical arrangements but none will have any affect of diminution of British sovereignty or any negative effect on British sovereignty.”

Lord Cameron will also co-chair a meeting of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement Partnership Council and a meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee with Mr Sefcovic.

The meetings will focus on the UK’s relationship with the EU, the implementation of the Windsor Framework and other issues including citizens’ rights and support for Ukraine.

The Foreign Secretary’s visit comes against the backdrop of continued concerns about the EU’s influence in Northern Ireland.

Belfast’s High Court ruled on Monday that sections of the Illegal Migration Act, which includes powers to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, should be disapplied as they were incompatible with human rights protections guaranteed in Northern Ireland by post-Brexit arrangements.

The Government has said it will appeal against the decision, which some Conservative MPs have strongly criticised.

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