Former UK Conservative Party leader Howard threatens war with Spain over Gibraltar


Former UK Conservative Party leader Howard threatens war with Spain over Gibraltar

Julie Hyland

3 April 2017

Two senior British politicians have threatened that the Conservative government of Theresa May is prepared to go to war with Spain over the British territory of Gibraltar on the Iberian peninsula.

Lord Michael Howard, a former leader of the Conservative Party, made his extraordinary statement in an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday. He was speaking just four days after May triggered Article 50, officially beginning Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), which must be completed by March 29, 2019.

In response to May’s hardline demands on the terms of this divorce, the EU published its draft negotiating position, part of which stipulates that any agreement it reached with the UK will not apply to Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory, without the agreement of Spain.

Denouncing this as an EU “land grab” on behalf of Spain, Howard threatened, “Thirty-five years ago this week another woman Prime Minister sent a taskforce half way across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country, and I am absolutely certain our current Prime Minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar.”

Howard was provocatively evoking Margaret Thatcher who went to war with Argentina over the Malvinas (Falklands) Islands in April 1982. The 74-day war over the remote South Atlantic islands, seized from Argentina in 1883, left 900 people dead, 649 of them Argentineans—mainly young conscripts.

Earlier on the same programme, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said that the UK would go “all the way” to protect Gibraltar.

Not a single leading Tory minister…

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