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Spanish king’s visit could lead to bitter conflict about Gibraltar

British MPs have threatened to walk out if Spanish King lays claim to Gibraltar during his UK Parliament speech.

 

Diplomats are fearing the trip could be overshadowed by the conflict of the “Rock,” and Foreign Officers as expecting mention of it during King Felipe’s speech at Parliament’s Royal Gallery meeting.

 

Pro-Gibraltar Tory MP, Andrew Rosindell, last week said: “The people of Gibraltar are rightly nervous. They break the rules while we, in turn, welcome the King and Queen of Spain for a state visit. What kind of message is that for the people of Gibraltar?

 

“The people of Gibraltar are very unnerved, and rightly so. The Government needs to be much more robust.”

 

In King Felipe’s UN General Assembly speech last year in New York, he called for a negotiated handover of Gibraltar, and said: “I invite the UK, on this first occasion at the UN after Brexit, to end the colonial anachronism of Gibraltar with an agreed solution between both countries to restore the territorial integrity of Spain.”

 

The king’s UK visit has already been postponed twice, one due to a political deadlock in Spain, and the other due to clashing with the British general election last month.

 

There have been on-going fears and conflicts of Gibraltar over the last year about what will happen post-Brexit. Earlier this year former Tory leader, Michael Howard, called for Theresa may to protect Gibraltar in the same way Margaret Thatcher protected the Falkland Islands back in 1982. But it is believed that Theresa May will attempt to avoid rows during her meeting with the Spanish King.

 

Foreign officials say they hope the visit will, instead of increasing conflict, celebrate the royal and historical links between the two countries.

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