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Spain-UK row escalates over Gibraltar and Brexit

04 April 2017

Moves by the EU to offer Spain a veto over Gibraltar’s future trade relations with the bloc triggers fury in the UK.

Tensions are rising between the UK and Spain in a row over the future of Gibraltar, as the UK embarks on negotiations to leave the European Union.

The dispute escalated since the circulation of the EU’s draft Brexit negotiating guidelines on Friday appeared to offer Spain a right of veto over Gibraltar’s future trade relations with the bloc.

The move prompted fury in the UK, where ministers described it as “utterly unacceptable”.

A former leader of the UK’s Conservative party, Michael Howard, said on Sunday that British Prime Minister Theresa May would even be prepared to go to war to defend the territory, as Britain did with Argentina over the Falkland Islands 35 years ago.

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 cannot 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.”

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