The UK government was right to state its rock-like support for Gibraltar over the weekend.
Gibraltar has made clear that regardless of the EU referendum result they wish to maintain undiluted British sovereignty. I fully support that. Spain has no valid claim to Gibraltar.
Indeed there is irony in Spain lecturing about “colonies” while maintaining Spanish cities in Africa – one just across the Strait from Gibraltar.
Suggesting war with Spain is folly, but it is unbecoming of a supposed Nato ally to act in the way Spain routinely behaves towards Gibraltar. In general, friend and foe should know we will never be found wanting in defence of our territory or allies. Friends should be reassured by this commitment – indeed some should follow our example and honour their commitments as Nato members.
There will be no winners if the Spanish, EU bureaucrats in tow, maintain their foul belligerence. Yes, Spain is entitled to close its border and make life awkward; as we will be entitled to sail the Royal Navy into the Strait to guard our waters.
Neither is preferable. We each have choices. The Andalucian workers who cross the border daily will wish to avoid obstructions to their employment post-Brexit with levels of unemployment in Spain, particularly among youth, catastrophic.
It seems Madrid hopes that ‘bread and circuses’ will keep their citizens distracted from the real problems facing Spanish people.
The Spanish foreign minister noted composure as a British trait, but he should also consider that other aforementioned trait; willing defence of ourselves and our friends. European neighbours know more of this than most. In this instance diplomacy will suffice; but Spain should know that no amount of diplomacy will see Gibraltar’s sovereignty sold or shared. Gibraltar is British.
Diane Dodds, DUP MEP