July 10, 2019 / 7:52 PM / 7 days ago

France likely to use border checks as 'political tool' after no-deal Brexit - UK's Hammond

LONDON, July 10 (Reuters) - France is likely to threaten delays on its border with Britain to exert political leverage if there is a no-deal Brexit, British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday.

France is technically capable of managing the customs checks needed for a smooth flow of goods and vehicles after a no-deal Brexit, but may choose not to, Hammond said in an interview with broadcaster ITV.

“They will use the deployment of those systems as a political tool in what will be quite a row, if we end up leaving in a no-deal scenario. Think the border between Spain and Gibraltar,” he said.

Traffic crossing the border between Spain and Gibraltar is sometimes subject to hours of delays when Spain wishes to emphasise its long-standing objection to British sovereignty over the territory. A no-deal Brexit would be Britain leaving the European Union without a withdrawal deal to smooth the transition. (Reporting by David Milliken Editing by Frances Kerry)

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