In Brief

Gibraltar fury over Spanish King's speech to MPs

Monarch accused of ignoring will of people after failing to acknowledge territory's sovereignty

King Felipe of Spain has been accused of ignoring Gibraltar's right to determine its own future in his address to parliament during his state visit to the UK.

The monarch told MPs and peers that the "two governments" of Spain and the UK would find a solution to the territory's future that is "acceptable to all involved".

He added that both sides should seek "dialogue" over the dispute.

His words provoked an angry response from Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who said Felipe was "seeking to ignore" the sovereignty of the Rock.

"What the King has said really harks back to a time when the governments in Madrid and London might make decisions over the heads of the people of Gibraltar," he told Sky News.

The territory's status was "not up for discussion or negotiation", he added.

Picardo also said the King’s comments suggested he was treating Gibraltar as something that could be "traded from one monarch to another", like a "pawn in a chess game, reports the Gibraltar Chronicle.

Tory MPs had threatened to walk out during the monarch's speech if Felipe claimed Spanish sovereignty over Gibraltar, the Daily Telegraph reports.

While no explicit claim was made, Conservative politician Andrew Rosindell called Felipe's comments "inappropriate" and said the diplomatic status of Gibraltar was "none of his business."

Prime Minister Theresa May has insisted Gibraltar's future will not be part of the Brexit discussions.

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