Gibraltar: Spanish gunship in new 'illegal incursion' in UK waters

A Spanish gunship has made another illegal incursion into UK waters off Gibraltar, say officials in the British territory.

The Royal Navy ordered the vessel Infanta Cristina to leave the area following the incident.

A UK Government spokesperson told Sky News: "The Royal Navy challenges all unlawful maritime incursions into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters - and did so again on this occasion."

A tweet by the government of Gibraltar read: "Another Illegal incursion into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters by Spanish Navy ship Infanta Cristina today."

The Spanish navy's Infanta Cristina carried out a similar entry last week.

There have been a number of other such incidents this year, amid rising tensions over the sovereignty of the Rock following the Brexit vote.

After the 4 April incident, a spokesman for Spain's foreign ministry denied the illegal incursion, saying the ship was in fact in Spain's own territorial waters.

Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have moved to reassure Gibraltarians that the territory will remain under British control when the UK leaves the European Union.

In a phone call with the territory's chief minister, Fabian Picardo, Mrs May reiterated Britain "remains steadfastly committed" to its support for Gibraltar, its people and its economy.

Spain has a long-standing territorial claim on Gibraltar, which has been held by the UK since 1713 and has the status of a British overseas territory.

The EU has proposed offering Spain a right of veto over Gibraltar's future trade relations with the bloc.

That would give Madrid sway over the fate of the enclave once Britain leaves the EU.

Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis has told the UK not to "lose tempers" over Gibraltar.

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