Andrew Rosindell, Chairman of Conservative Friends of Gibraltar, has attacked the Spanish Government for its latest incursion to the waters of British Gibraltar. The tiny territory – known as ‘The Rock’ – was the scene of a minor collision between a Spanish Guardia Civil vessel and a Royal Gibraltar Police vessel on Tuesday.
Two Royal Navy patrol boats based in Gibraltar issued a warning to the Spanish vessel, and yesterday the British Foreign Office called in the Spanish Ambassador to explain his country’s actions.
The incursion is the latest in a series of incidents that have raised tensions between the two countries, following a renewed campaign by the Spanish to put pressure on Britain to get them out of the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula.
This is the fourth time the Ambassador has been called in for a dressing down over his government’s behaviour towards Gibraltar since it took office in December 2011.
Mr Rosindell told Breitbart London: “I think we are all getting sick and tired of the constant bullying, intimidation and blockading of Gibraltar. The Spanish Government are acting like a 1970’s South American military junta! Gibraltar has a perfect right to remain British and everyone under the Crown has a duty to stand up for them.
“There is no reason why the British cannot live side by side with the Spanish, just as so many other small countries and territories do with their neighbours, in all parts of the world. It is time for Spain to end, once and for all, their anti-democratic behaviour and drop their illegitimate claims over the Rock!”
Spain have wanted to take Gibraltar from the British ever since the territory was ceded to Britain “in perpetuity” under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Since then the Rock has become home to around 30,000 English speaking people, almost all of whom want to maintain their relationship with the United Kingdom.
Legally Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory, meaning that it is self-governing but it maintains the Queen as Head of State. It also gives up certain powers, in areas like defence and foreign policy, to the United Kingdom.
The Rock remains an important Mediterranean Naval base for the British, and is used for repair work to US Nuclear Submarines operating off the North Coast of Africa and the West Coast of Israel. It is situated on the 7.7 mile wide Strait of Gibraltar, which is the only natural entrance to the semi-enclosed Mediterranean Sea. The Strait itself separates Europe from Africa.
Whilst Gibraltar continually expresses its desire to be British they are subject to constant threats from their nearest neighbour. Their waters are regularly violated by Spanish Naval Vessels, and their residents are subject to deliberately slow customs checks on their land border with Spain.
Aside from Military bases Gibraltar is also home to a vibrant online gaming industry, including sites like 888.com.