James Carver, UKIP’s Foreign and Commonwealth spokesman, today condemned the incursion of the Spanish warship the Infanta Cristina.
“I find it incredible that shortly after the Spanish Foreign Minister has called for calm, the Spanish government order their warship to illegally enter British sovereign territory in an attempt to frighten and bully the people of Gibraltar,” he said, adding:
“I am not surprised, however. This is the 100th incursion since 2014 and follows a pattern of Spanish contempt for the Law of the Sea and more widely, international agreements that do not suit their narrow, self -serving agenda.”
Mr Carver agreed with Gibraltar Chief Minister Picardo that Spanish pressure on the European Council to make Gibraltar a pawn in the Brexit negotiations was a “disgraceful attempt to manipulate the European Council for its own narrow political interests and a clear manifestation of the predictably predatory attitude of Spain towards Gibraltar”.
He said: “In 2002 the people of Gibraltar voted by 99 per cent to one per cent to keep Spain out of Gibraltar affairs.
“They could not make it clearer that they do not want Spain involved in their internal affairs.
“Whilst I understand that Spain has only recently embraced democracy she must pay heed to the almost unanimous decision of the people of Gibraltar.
Furthermore, the European Union should not play games with the future of Gibraltar and its people.
“It needs to negotiate with the UK in good faith, not play sordid little games at the behest of a country that has a long history of promoting its own narrow interests wherever and whenever it can.
“Gibraltar is not on the negotiating table, let us make that fact clear to Mr Tusk and we can then, hopefully, get on with the real task of negotiating Brexit.
“At the same time, Spain must consider the possible response from other countries to her attitude in relation to Cueta, Mellila and the Plazas De La Soberania – her own enclaves in North Africa.”