The row between Spain and Britain continues to heat up as the Spanish foreign minister urges the UK not to 'lose its temper' over Gibraltar.

Alfonso Dastis' comments come after former Conservative leader Lord Michael Howard said Prime Minister Theresa May is willing to 'go to war' over the British Overseas Territory's future.

The former home secretary compared his current party leader to Margaret Thatcher, who declared war on Argentina in 1982 over the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands, in the wake of Spain's bid to vie for increased sovereignty over the Rock.

Mr. Dastis said the Spanish Government was 'surprised' by the tone of Mr. Howard's comments.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has reaffirmed the British Government's status over the British Overseas Territory, saying any change in the governance of the Rock remains with the People Of Gibraltar.

'Like a cuckolded husband'

The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has been attacked by Gibraltar's Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, for acting like a 'cuckolded husband who is taking out the children' due to his inclusion of the Rock in upcoming Brexit negotiations.

He added: 'Spain is trying to bully Gibraltar. We simply will not let that happen.'

US President Donald Trump has also come out in favour of Britain's position.

In response to clarification over his remarks, Lord Howard said: ''I can see no harm in reminding them what kind of people we are (in relation to Britain defending the Falkland Islands 35 years ago).'

But Mrs May has reaffirmed the Chief Minister Brexit will not affect the British Overseas Territory's status.

'A bargaining chip'

She has refused to enable the European Union to use the Rock as a 'bargaining chip' in upcoming discussions.

On Friday, provisional negotiating guidelines were produced which suggested Spain intends to veto any future trade deal between the UK and the EU.

This is due to Spain's long-standing claim over Gibraltar, which dates back to 1713, when the Rock became a British colony following the War of Spanish Succession in between 1701-1714.

The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) culminated in Spain surrendering sovereignty of the Rock to Britain in order to help end the war.


Due to uncertainty over the Rock's future in a post-Brexit Britain, the people of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU, with Stronger In winning 96% of the vote in last year's EU Referendum there.

However, the Spanish Government wants this dispute to be resolved during the Brexit negotiations


Most recently, Spain has also stated it would not veto an independent Scotland's accession to the EU if it chooses to become an independent country.

However, there have been concerns Spain is not willing to discuss territorial claims in Morocco despite their criticism over Britain's claim to Gibraltar.

There are also anxieties over the impact a closed border between Spain and Gibraltar will have on travel, trade and jobs in both places.

Many Spaniards travel to Gibraltar to seek employment and vice versa.

Former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw said this situation 'reeks of nineteenth century jingoism.'