The comments came as Gibraltar found itself at the forefront of the Brexit furore after Brussels guidelines published at the time stated that Spain would be granted a veto over any EU deal applying to the Rock.
The European Council’s Article 50 guidelines state the EU cannot reach an agreement with the UK over Gibraltar without Madrid’s approval.
It reads: “After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.”
The former Conservative Party leader’s comments were backed up by a British Rear Admiral, who claimed that in the event of conflict the UK could “cripple” Spanish forces.
Rear Admiral Chris Parry told the Telegraph in 2017: “We could cripple Spain in the medium term and I think the Americans would probably support us too.
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