Only a few days have passed since Article 50 was triggered, yet talk of Britain going to war with Spain over the defence of Gibraltar has emerged.
Former Tory leader Lord Howard suggested Theresa May would go to war to defend the British overseas territory, even going so far as to liken the battle for the Rock to that of the Falklands War more than three decades ago.
Speaking to Sky News on Sunday, he said: “Thirty-five years ago this week, another woman prime minister sent a taskforce halfway across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country, and I’m absolutely certain that our current prime minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar.”
Many Brits are struggling to find the sense in Lord Howard’s implications, not only questioning his suggestion but his decision to compare Brexit negotiations to the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands.
So, we're now talking about war with Spain over Gibraltar, as if this whole Brexit thing wasn't stupid enough already.
— rich (@them_apples) April 2, 2017
What in the British tea drinking, upper lip stiffening, orderly queue forming, binge-drinking on the street HECK is going on w/Gibraltar?
— Cameron (@Cam977) April 2, 2017
War threatened over Gibraltar but apparently we're better off out of the EU which has prevented war for over 60 years. #BrexitBritain
— Emily McKay (@BonjourEms) April 2, 2017
Though it doesn’t seem too bad an idea to others, who argued the thousands of Brits in Gibraltar should not be forced to live under Spanish sovereignty.
Why do remainers think it's okay to force Spanish citizenship on Gibraltar when residents don't want it?
— MATT (@M44Tweet) April 2, 2017
Theresa May should show the same support for Gibraltar as Margaret Thatcher did for the Falklands.
— Josh 🌐™ (@JoshIsTooCute) April 2, 2017
It is worth noting, the Prime Minister herself has made no mention of an impending war with Spain.
Meanwhile she has reassured those in Gibraltar that the UK has – and always will be – “steadfastly committed” to the Rock throughout the Brexit process.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said May would never agree to a deal that forced the people in Gibraltar to live under the sovereignty of another state against their will.
< a week after Article 50 being triggered there is already talk of war in Europe over Gibraltar. Brexit is going splendidly… pic.twitter.com/IBBUcZBzrj
— .. … — .- .. .-.. (@01Shalashaska) April 2, 2017
The sticky situation of Gibraltar actually went unmentioned in May’s Article 50 letter, it was raised in the draft of the EU negotiating guidelines. And while there was no mention of Spain’s claim to sovereignty of the Rock, it was indicated Madrid would be given a veto over the its participation in a future deal.