And Brexiteer Andrew Rosindell warned any deviation would be “a dangerous road for Gibraltar to go down”. Mr Rosindell, who is chairman of the British Overseas Territories All Party Parliamentary Group, was speaking after unnamed sources told Spanish newspaper El Pais one of the options on the table was for Gibraltar to join the bloc’s Customs Union or the Schengen passport-free area.
The Rock currently has a seat at the table at ongoing trade talks between the UK and the EU, although chief negotiator David Frost is authorised to negotiate on behalf of Britain and all its overseas territories.
Spain continues to push its sovereignty claim over a small area of land in its southern tip which has been in British hands since the treaty of Utrecht in 1713 – even though Gibraltarians have twice voted overwhelmingly to retain their close ties with the UK.
Mr Rosindell told Express.co.uk: “The Spanish will use the EU to try to exclude Gibraltar from agreements with the UK, there is no doubt about that, this is what they do.
“The government in Gibraltar is pro-EU, although they are also totally dedicated to remaining British and will put that before any ties with the EU.”
He added: “Personally, I cannot see how Gibraltar could have any kind of separate ties with the EU, separate from the UK.
“This would be a dangerous road for Gibraltar to go down, they should in my view, stick as closely to Britain as possible.
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Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo last month met with Arancha Gonzalez Laya, Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, to discuss Gibraltar’s post-Brexit relations with Spain and the EU.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Picardo said of the discussions: “They have addressed important practical issues and created a climate of confidence between us.
“The second round of meetings takes place in Gibraltar next week.
“We have also talked about the many opportunities that Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar can seize from the challenges that Brexit presents to all of us.
“We agreed that working together we can turn this into a rainbow of opportunities which can turn this region into an arc of prosperity for all of the people who live in and around it.
“There is a lot of work to do. There is not much time to do it.”
A Gibraltar Government spokesman told Express.co.uk this week the Gibraltarian government was “currently preparing for all eventualities” including “preparations for leaving the transitional period on December 31 2020 without an agreement”.
Speaking to Express.co.uk in his office in Gibraltar, deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia told Express.co.uk: “Brexit is very real. If somebody lives in the middle of England surrounded by England only then I suppose it means something very different.
“If you live here we have a border next door where there are 15,000 people coming across each day to come and work here, there are people who live in Gibraltar or who live in Spain who cross in and out for services, hotels, shopping, restaurants and also we have 30,000 tourists coming in and out so Brexit is very real and visible to us in a way you could say it is not to somebody living in the middle of England.”