Diplomatic row
over Gibraltar
ship incursion

The Spanish Ambassador is to be summoned to the Foreign Office after MPs heard reports a Spanish ship had entered the Port of Gibraltar.

Foreign Office Minister David Lidington condemned the “provocative incursion” into Gibraltan waters, which involved a Spanish state research vessel the RV Ramon Margalef. The boat has been in Gibraltan waters for more than 20 hours after arriving yesterday.

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Labour MP Jim Dobbin, who earlier staged a Westminster Hall debate on continued tension around the British territory, had questioned whether a Foreign Office minister would come to address MPs.

Mr Lidington said: “Despite repeated diplomatic protests to Spain in relation to incursions into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters in recent months, a Spanish state research vessel, the RV Ramon Margalef, undertook significant surveying activity in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters on 18 and 19 November for over 20 hours.

He added that according to international law the waters around Gibraltar are indisputably British territorial waters, under United Kingdom sovereignty, in which only the United Kingdom has the right to exercise jurisdiction.