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9th June 2022, 15:44

House of Commons' European Scrutiny Committee launches inquiry into progress of EU negotiations

Published by GBC News

The House of Commons' European Scrutiny Committee has launched an inquiry into the progress of the negotiations with the EU over border and trade arrangements between Spain and Gibraltar.

It says the move follows news that blue ID card holders are being refused entry into Spain without revealing the reason for their visit, where they will be staying, and the amount of cash they have.

The European Scrutiny Committee aims to assess the legal and political importance of EU documents deposited by the Government in Parliament. It is a cross-party committee with 16 members, although nine Conservative MPs make up the majority, with all of these pro-Brexit, including committee Chairman, Sir Bill Cash.

The committee says a response to its concerns over blue ID card holders from Minister for Europe, James Cleverly, appears to "downplay the scale of the problem"; in the letter, Mr Cleverly highlights that the "large majority" of the Rock's population are not affected by the issue. However, he adds that refusal of entry to some blue ID card holders is a "concerning change" to Spain's management of the border, adding the UK will continue to monitor the situation and work with Spain to support British nationals.

Sir Bill Cash says while the committee is pleased that the issue is now on the Minister's radar, this is no small matter. He adds that "with no sign of an imminent agreement", it has decided to open an inquiry into the UK's negotiations on a post-Brexit EU relationship agreement for Gibraltar, including "the importance of a fluid border" and long-standing travel arrangements at the border for British nationals, as well as the contingencies that will be put in place if a negotiated outcome is unlikely.