On 26th March 2018 the House of Lords continued with its consideration of the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill in committee. Baroness Butler-Sloss introduced an amendment after clause 11, regarding the maintenance of status quo rights and arrangements in Gibraltar. The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke during the debate on the amendment:
The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I do not want to repeat what has been said but the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, seems to have asked the key question. Amid all the detail perhaps we might precis the fundamental question.
I was here when the members of the Government of Gibraltar were sitting in the Chamber when Gibraltar first came up on our agenda. It seemed that promises were being made by the Government which were not in the Government’s gift to make. This is still the heart of the question that is being raised here. Can the Minister clarify what is in the UK Government’s gift and what is not, in order that we do not make promises that cannot be fulfilled? It seems to me that we can make promises in relation to the UK’s relationship with and commitments and obligations to Gibraltar but not those of the EU. That is where the fault line lies, which seems as clear a fault line as that between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
The full debate on the amendment can be read here.