Shadow Defence Secretary heads to Gibraltar after “provocative and dangerous” Spanish manoeuvres

4th December, 2013 12:02 am

A delegation of Labour Shadow Ministers – led by Shadow Defence Secretary Vernon Coaker – are on their way to Gibraltar today to show Labour’s support for the British Overseas Territory, its people and British Armed Forces stationed there. The other members of the delegation are Shadow Armed Forces Minister Kevan Jones and Shadow Europe Minister Gareth Thomas.

Whilst in Gibraltar, they’re meeting Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, Commander of British Forces Gibraltar Commodore John Clink and Acting Governor General Mrs Alison MacMillan. They will visit members of the armed forces stationed on The Rock, and Coaker will address the annual dinner of the Gibraltar Defence Police, as well as meeting with Gibraltar Government Ministers and officials. Speaking ahead of the visit, Coaker said:

“The actions of the Spanish authorities in recent months have caused anger and concern. Provocative incidents at the border during the summer months have been followed by unacceptable maritime incursions in British sovereign waters and the illegal opening of British diplomatic bags. This is not the sort of behaviour we expect from a NATO and EU partner.

“Recent naval manoeuvres by Spanish vessels are deliberately provocative and dangerous. The Chief Minister of Gibraltar has asked that Royal Navy ships are made available to support patrol vessels monitoring British waters around The Rock. That is a reasonable request that should be given full and prompt consideration by the Ministry of Defence.

“Labour continues to support the right of Gibraltar and its people to remain under British sovereignty. Spain must understand that its actions only serve to increase tension and foster mistrust and ill-feeling.”


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