THERESA May has vowed Britain won’t accept a ‘half in, half out’ Brexit in a landmark speech.
In the most important speech of her six-month premiership, the Prime Minister issued a 12-point plan to take Britain out of the EU, with Downing Street looking to scrap EU single market and current customs union access (which Gibraltar is not a member of).
She said: “To be clear, what I am proposing means cannot mean membership of the single market.”
She added Britain would no longer give ‘huge sums’ to the EU, but that Parliament will vote on the final deal.
Maintaining the common travel area between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland is also a priority during the Brexit negotiations, Prime Minister Theresa May says.
However, she did not specifically mention Gibraltar and the border with Spain.
“We want to control our immigration from the EU,” said May.
“We also recognise the importance of the brightest and the best coming here. We recognise the contribution they have made.”
She added: “We are looking at the exact structures for immigration.”
May is believed to favour a work-permit system as she looks to trigger Article 50 by March 2017.
It comes as the House of Lords published data showing a border Brexit closure would put 40% of jobs at risk in Gibraltar.
The 32 page-report, based on government evidence submitted by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo at a December EU Select Committee meeting, estimates 10,473 of the Rock’s 26,144 workers crossed the border daily as of October 2015.
“The prospect of a closed or hard border is the most serious single issue that arises for Gibraltar from Brexit,” the Gibraltar government said.
“A frontier which lacked the necessary fluidity for people to be able to access their places of work would therefore put directly at risk the jobs of 40% of the entire Gibraltar workforce.”
May’s speech was cheered by Leave campaigners, who are pushing for a ‘hard’ Brexit.
The 12 objectives include taking control of Britain’s borders, removing the UK from European Court jurisdiction, preserving the union and signing major trade deals.
“We do not seek to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. We do not seek to hold on to bits of membership as we leave,” said May.
“The British people voted for change. And it is the government’s job to deliver it. That means more than negotiating our new relationship with the EU.”
She added: “It means taking the opportunity of this great moment of national change to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be.”
In a December interview with the BBC, Picardo said he wanted Gibraltar to keep single market access and freedom of movement, even if the UK scrapped them.