Gibraltar plots stockpiling supplies in war tunnels as Rock braces for Brexit stalemate
Brexit: Gibraltar may accept Spanish police presence says expert
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A network of tunnels began to be constructed within The Rock in the 1700s. The most intensive tunnelling took place during the Second World War and by the end of the conflict the intricate system was approximately 34 miles (52 kilometres) long.
The tunnels were constructed by the British Army as part of a plan to keep control of Gibraltar.
Gibraltarian officials have now cleared out some tunnels and vaults to stockpile supplies in case a Brexit agreement is not reached.
Dr Joseph Garcia, the deputy chief minister of Gibraltar, told the Telegraph: “This should increase our storage capacity from something like two days to two months.”
He added that some caverns were “the size of cathedrals”.
Gibraltar is not covered by the Brexit trade deal between Britain and Brussels last December.
A last-minute agreement was made to avoid a hard border in Gibraltar.
Talks are currently ongoing between the UK and the EU on a permanent post-Brexit agreement for the peninsula.
The Rock, which is located off the southern coast of Spain, has been a British Overseas Territory since 1713.
In 2002, Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain under UK sovereignty.
However, Gibraltar’s sovereignty is disputed by Spain.
Brexit has seen the UK and Spain clash over the territory, which voted by 96 percent to Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
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Some 15,000 workers cross from Spain into Gibraltar every day and disagreements over a deal centre on border arrangements.
Speaking to the House of Commons’ European scrutiny committee last week, Gibraltar’s chief minister Fabian Picardo insisted The Rock’s future is British.
He said that while he was chief minister “no Gibraltarian would ever negotiate any arrangements that would surrender British sovereignty, jurisdiction or control over Gibraltar”.
Mr Picardo added: “I haven’t got a crystal ball, but I can tell you that the future of Gibraltar – if it’s one thing, it’s three things – it’s British, British, British.”
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