Spain urges United Kingdom not to lose temper over Gibraltar
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 04, 2017,
Apr 04, 2017, 23:24
"Another woman prime minister sent a task force halfway across the world to protect another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country", Howard told Sky News.
On the same day, former Tory leader Michael Howard said that the United Kingdom prime minister would be prepared to go to war to protect Gibraltar as Margaret Thatcher once did for the Falklands.
But he argued: "All that Lord Howard was trying to establish was the resolve we all have to protect the rights of Gibraltar".
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Brexit would bring no changes to the status of Gibraltar.
Labour's shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry branded the comments "inflammatory" and said they would "not help Britain get what it needs from these hard Brexit negotiations".
Asked if he was "seriously suggesting" going to war with Spain, Lord Howard told Channel 4 News: "Of course not", b ut he blamed the European Union for the row and added: "I can see no harm in reminding them what kind of people we are".
Spain and Britain are again contesting Gibraltar after a line in the EU's Brexit negotiating guidelines said decisions regarding the strategic property require Spanish consent.
Earlier Monday, Spain's foreign minister accused Britain of losing its composure over Gibraltar, after a leading Conservative politician in the United Kingdom compared uncertainty over the enclave's status to the 1982 Falklands War.
He spoke in Luxembourg where European Union foreign ministers are meeting.
However she's believed to have phoned Gibraltarian chief minister Fabian Picardo to assure him of her support.
While every European Union member state would have a veto over any future trade deal between the European Union and post-Brexit Britain, the explicit mention of Gibraltar surprised London and angered the British territory.
While it has been under British control since 1713 and Gibraltarians have voted to keep it that way in several referendums, Spain has periodically made some rumblings about regaining control of the territory, which is located in a strategically valuable spot at the entrance to the Mediterranean.
He said today that London's position was "very, very clear, which is that the sovereignty of Gibraltar is unchanged, and it's not going to change". We have no evidence at the moment that the Spanish government would seek to invade and take over Gibraltar.
The Infanta Cristina entered the United Kingdom waters at around lunchtime on 4 April, the Gibraltar government claimed.
The UK doesn't agree with Spain having the final say.
Gibraltar - a three-mile long headland with a population of 32,000 people - is a British Overseas Territory whose residents remain fiercely loyal to Britain but whose sovereignty is claimed by Spain.
"Let's be cool and carry on, and not use too harsh language, I would say. Let us negotiate, I think that's the most important".