Gibraltar: Spain

House of Lords written question – answered on 29th October 2014.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns (HL1709), how many incursions by Spanish state vessels into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters there have been in 2014 to date and in each of the preceding five years; and, in the light of these numbers, what is their assessment of the efficacy of the defence of United Kingdom sovereignty over these waters using current methods.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

There were 247 unlawful incursions between January and September this year. There were 103 in 2010, 24 in 2011, 229 in 2012 and 496 in 2013, as stated in the reply of 17 June, Official Report, column WA38, given by the former Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Baroness Warsi. The Government cannot readily provide statistics for incursions before 2010 as this could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

Incursions are a violation of sovereignty, not a threat to it. They do not change the fact of British sovereignty over British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. The Government challenges and protests all unlawful incursions and these actions effectively defend our sovereignty over British Gibraltar Territorial waters.

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