A Government paper outlining its proposals for customs arrangements following Brexit has seemingly forgotten about the existence of Gibraltar.
The document, titled ‘Future customs arrangements: A future partnership paper‘, states that the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland is ‘the UK’s only land border.’
In fact, a 1.2km international boundary separates the British overseas territory of Gibraltar and Spain.
Overlooking this detail, the Brexit paper says: ‘The border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is the UK’s only land border.
‘We must avoid a return to a hard border, and trade and everyday movements across the land border must be protected as part of the UK-EU deal.’
The Rock has proved to be an issue during Brexit negotiations, with an EU paper in March suggesting that Brexit deals would not apply to Gibraltar without the agreement of Spain.
This sparked a war or words between politicians, with Michael Howard going so far as to suggest that Theresa May might go to war with Spain over the issue.
The Brexit document, released today, outlines the UK’s plans for future trade deals with the European Union and the rest of the world following Britain’s exit from the bloc.
It calls for a highly streamlined customs arrangement’ between the UK and the EU with customs arrangements that are ‘as frictionless as possible.’
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The document also proposes a potential ‘interim period’ where Britain would maintain a ‘close association’ with the EU customs union.
Brexit Secretary David Davis said: ‘The approaches we are setting out today will benefit both the EU and UK and avoid a cliff-edge for businesses and individuals on both sides.
‘The way we approach the movement of goods across our border will be a critical building block for our independent trade policy. An interim period would mean businesses only need to adjust once to the new regime and would allow for a smooth and orderly transition.
‘The UK is the EU’s biggest trading partner so it is in the interest of both sides that we reach an agreement on our future relationship. The UK starts from a strong position and we are confident we can deliver a result that is good for business here in the UK and across the EU.’