A former Ministry of Defence adviser has said that Royal Navy warships should be sent to Gibraltar to ‘protect it from Spain’ while Britain negotiates a deal to leave the European Union.

Writing in Conservative Homes, Luke Coffey, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies said:

“First and foremost, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Michael Fallon, and David Davis should make a joint visit to Gibraltar as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Defence should also make a grand gesture by increasing the Royal Navy’s visible presence in Gibraltar. This would send an important message to the Gibraltarians.

The UK needs to prepare for the worse. This could include maintaining a robust air bridge if the land border is closed. Also, in the event of a border closure by Spain, the UK must be prepared to respond with appropriate, firm, and proportionate measures against Madrid.”

The Spanish government had called for joint sovereignty over Gibraltar after the UK decided to leave the European Union.

95.9% of ‘The Rock’s’ 30,000 population voted overwhelmingly for staying in the EU.

Speaking on national radio, Spain’s Foreign Minister said:

“It’s a complete change of outlook that opens up new possibilities on Gibraltar not seen for a very long time. I hope the formula of co-sovereignty – to be clear, the Spanish flag on the Rock – is much closer than before.”

Relations aren’t calm however, in May, a Spanish patrol boat reportedly tried to “hassle” an American nuclear submarine attempting to dock at Gibraltar.

According to multiple sources, flares were fired across the bow of the Spanish Guardia Civil vessel Rio Cedena in mid-April as it twice attempted to sail across the front of the American ballistic missile submarine USS Florida.

The USS Florida, a 20,000 ton Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, was commissioned in 1983 with the hull designation of SSBN-728; with her conversion to a cruise missile submarine, she was re-designated SSGN-728. She carriers 154 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The Guardia Civil launch Rio Cedeña attempted to cross in front of the submarine but was stopped by the actions the Royal Navy’s HMS Sabre and a rigid-hulled inflatable boat, which manoeuvred in close, according to an eyewitness as reported by ‘The Chronicle’.

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we need more hulls for this day and age

Robert Palfrey

Spain might do well to remember the last few times they tried going toe to toe with the Royal Navy…

Ricardo González

Blas de lezo, Cartagena de indias.

Hahahahah yes the royal navy is twice as big

Richard Christian

Spain need sorting out over this, park a few tanks up there while we’re at it!

Phil Jolly

HM Government needs to have a T23 or T45 permanently deployed at Gibraltar

Brian Mooney

Too right we should look after our own people,Spain,the locals don’t want to know them

Stevie Steward

A good call was that..

Karl Bromley

Hi end frontline warship there full time that we can’t spare seams a non starter. OPV. makes sense,for the Spanish protest entering our waters. It’s in a way like,if the Spanish owned the Isle of Wight how would they protect it from the RAF and RN ?

Jason Bartlett

Show the flag for sure but anything other harsh words from Spain is unlikely.

Leighton Evans

Why? The Spanish won’t do anything military against Gibraltar.


Ridiculous. Not an issue. This is not 1980s Falklands. Aggression would be stamped on by rest of EU. Close border, lose Gibraltarin employment of citizens which if Spanish would then claim welfare and if British would relocate with loss of tax contributions to Spain. There may be some temporary sabre rattling but it won’t last and it certainly won’t turn into a shooting war.

Andrew Canavan

Protect Gibraltar with what..? A strongly worded email…?

Arran Stratton

A T45 or T23 would look good tied up in the dockyard but would be little to no use. The Spanish use fast patrol boats be them Guarda Civil Guarda Local or Naval/Customs. They come and go so fast by the time you had a destroyer or frigate ready for sea they’d be gone. Fast patrol boats like we already have are a better option as they only need a small crew and can be ready to go quickly along with the RHIBS. Maybe vessels such as the RM’s Island class that they use in Faslane would make a fine… Read more »


Our destroyer could hit a patrol vessel from 121 miles away using new radar and guided missile system. We could detect it before it entered the waters. Also an attack submarine would be able to deal with it.

Ex AB CIS Gavin Brierley

A t45 you can seeakes you think

I think the QE docking will upset them but will make them 100% not to fuck with us

Under NATO a attack on one is a attack on all, NATO Vs Spain hmmm the war would be over in 2 hours

The UK Vs Spain would last 2-4 days as our aircraft and ships would be taking out theirs

Plus a few SSNs could sink some of their biggest ships docked up which would end any chance they have

Kevin Geary

Step up now to the mark Britian time to grow some balls

Shane Emanuel

Britain needs it’s respect back, once we were a proud powerful nation with an empire that spanned half the world, now we are a small nation living on past Glory’s, we need to remind the world who we once were and who we could become again, or countries like Spain and Argentina will peck at us like vultures over a dieing lion.

Richard Mackay

Who we once were was an Empire which slaughtered more than 115million people ever being held to account for our actions. Lest we forget that small detail about out glorious empire. We killed more then the next 5 top empires combined.


This is a classic example of ridiculous lies, gross exaggeration and make believe in order to justify nonsensical and pathetic beliefs. If there was any truth in these bogus statistics then I am sure that everyone would have heard about them years ago from myriad of sad souls who’s egos have been offended by the British. It reminds me of Wallace, the mythical hero in Braveheart, who’s real life was that of untrustworthy rogue who gave allegiance to whoever paid the most either English or Scottish. Regretfully his true life’s history was rewritten just to create a legend.

Jack Barker

Your English is appaling. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously?

Alan Melapatt

Glad to see people like you still exists..

Shane Emanuel

@ Richard Mackay
Your right the British are dicks


But really, really successful Dicks!….and by the way you’re welcome.

Richard Christian

Send a submarine to crash into local merchant ships…..

Ricardo González
Leigh Maloney

It won’t be long and we can park up a huge aircraft carrier there or 2


The best thing to do is to hit the Spanish in their pockets. Their economy is very fragile this minute… if Brits booked holidays elsewhere for one summer… it will remind them on how much they rely on British tourism…


A good idea that

Matt Davis

Just letting it be known that an attack on Gibraltar would be considered a declaration of war, and a retaliation against targets on the Spanish mainland would be the response, would probably do more to back Spain down than just basing a ship down there.

Tony Singleton

T45 are all in Portsmouth broken down

UK Defence Journal

They’re not all broken down, two are.


Most are there being upgraded. It was kept a secret until the first of the Destroyers were deployed with new radar and weapons system.

Ka Pe

My First posting in 1975, great time, great people, let me know when you want me back, maybe old now, can still do the job!!


Us leaving the EU could cause a lot of complexity for poor Gibraltar. Without EU laws on freedom of movement there is nothing to stop Spain from playing silly git with the border again.

Saying that, sending the entire navy, military and air force to the island won’t fix that, since we and Spain have no intention of going to war over it.

Steven K

I have to say that having Gib along with all its complexities is just embarrassing.

Hand it over to Spain .

The notion we have to protect from the Spanish is insulting, there is a rebel few out to cauae trouble however. Gib will always have its roots, let them determine their future destiny and let respective governments pick up the pieces.


I guess your understanding of Gibraltar is as limited as your belief in self-determination. Maybe somebody else should get to choose your nationality. Or maybe that’s already happened…was BREXIT a somewhat traumatic experience for you? Oh dear…


What sort of muppet are you Steven K?
There have been at least two referendums where the people of Gibraltar said “No” to Spain taking over.

Adam Jackman

I wonder how a Trident D5 would look on Madrid ?

Graham Haxell

Shades of the Spanish Armada?

Nicholas Roach

Two Royal Nations should negotiate in peace.

Tom Vincze

Gibraltar is British!

Chad K Gray

Aside from harsh speeches and some mildly annoying behavior, the Spanish are not going to do anything unreasonable.

Colin Ross

No threat at all.from Spain . More anti foreign crap

John Francis

Due to the dragging of the feet to pull out of Europe full stop is bringing world war 3 in a lot more quicker than previously thought blame the ones who want to remain in Europe they want it that way , we not bothered but the remainders will go back on themselves and shit it when crunch comes to crunch !

David Croydon

Important base for us

Bernard Fox

I think its time Britain sent a Royal Marines Commando 45 0r 42 to Garrison the Rock and to support the Gibraltar Regiment along with one of the Royal Navy’s assault Ships such as HMS Ocean and escorting destroyers, plus a load of Royal Engineers to make good the facilities in the rock itself!

Philippe Geril

so after brexit why can’t Spain close the border? It would be the external border of the EU, so border closure is the logical result


It depends what you mean by “close the border”. The border between Spain and Gibraltar has never been open, or at least not in living memory, since the UK is not part of Shengen and so passports are checked now. If you mean that the EU might close its border like North Korea then of course it won’t. The EU’s borders with USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, etc, etc aren’t closed. This is all just one of 10,000 or more things that will need to be negotiated as part of Brexit.

Hokey pokey

The EU literally borders none of the countries you mentioned…

Tim Holyoake

Maybe, in reality. This has already been considered. And the appropriate actions will be taken.. or ,of course you could believe the rubbish that you read on face book