Gibraltar criticises Madrid after Spanish naval vessel incursion

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson left speaks with Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the EU Council building in Luxembourg on Monday April 2017. European Union foreign ministers meet Monday

Intelligence committee head blasts Lord Howard's 'apocalyptic' Gibraltar remarks

Howard's comments followed an interview on Sunday by Michael
Fallon, the UK's defence secretary, in which he said: "Gibraltar is going to be protected all the way because the sovereignty of Gibraltar can not be changed without the agreement of the people of Gibraltar and they have made it very clear they do not want to live under Spanish rule". "Gibraltar is going to be protected all the way because the sovereignty of Gibraltar can not be changed without the agreement of the people of Gibraltar", Sir Michael Fallon, the U.K.'s secretary of defense, said on "The Andrew Marr Show".

Michael Howard, a former Tory leader and now a member of the House of Lords, said that the tussle over Gibraltar evoked the UK's war with Argentina in the South Atlantic over the Falkland Islands in 1982.

Spain's Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said on Monday that he was a little surprised by the tone coming out of Britain over Gibraltar and called for calm.

"You can now see how hard the divorce is", Koenders said.

"Initially, I don't think we would block it", he said in an interview published in El Pais.

'We're focused on talking with the rest of the European Union, ' she said.

But Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has vowed the territory will not be used as leverage in the upcoming Brexit talks.

The row has become one of the early flashpoints in Brexit negotiations which started last week after British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, the process for leaving the European Union, and spectacularly failing to make any mention of Gibraltar in the letter delivered to the EU. He added that Tusk "is behaving like a cuckolded husband who is taking it out on the children".

Gibraltar was taken from Spain in 1704 and ceded to Britain in 1713. In the 2002 referendum only 1 per cent of Gibraltarians wished to share sovereignty with Spain.

Britain's Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, speaking to reporters this morning, repeated the UK's sovereignty commitment to Gibraltar.

In an effort to provide reassurance to Gibraltar, Downing Street said Mrs May "reiterated our long-standing position that the United Kingdom remains steadfastly committed to our support for Gibraltar, its people and its economy" in her call with Mr Picardo.

An armed Spanish gunboat has been ordered to leave British waters off Gibraltar amid heightened tensions over the Rock due to Brexit.

Lord Hannay of Chiswick, an independent crossbencher and former British ambassador to the European Union, took a sideswipe at those who campaigned for Brexit, which included Lord Howard.

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