The future of Gibraltar, a rocky British outpost on Spain's southern tip, has become the first major dispute of the exit negotiations since Prime Minister Theresa May filed the formal divorce papers on March 29.
"And a lot of Spaniards live in England and the likelihood of us actually going to war with them is way out".
"I do think it is a remarkable coincidence that 35 years ago this week, that another woman Prime Minister sent a task force halfway across the world to protect another small group of British people against another Spanish speaking country", Howard told Sky News.
After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the UK may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the kingdom of Spain and the UK.
Spain's foreign minister on Monday accused Britain of losing its composure over Gibraltar, after a leading Conservative politician in the United Kingdom compared uncertainty over the enclave's status after Brexit to the 1982 Falklands War.
A spokesman for Spain's foreign ministry said Spain did not recognise the waters as belonging to Gibraltar and the ship had been on a routine patrol.
"Gibraltar is not a bargaining chip in these negotiations". He added that Tusk "is behaving like a cuckolded husband who is taking it out on the children".
Currently, Gibraltar is mostly self-governing, and its chief minister said living under Spanish rule would be "absolutely bad".
Lord Howard's comments were raised in the House of Lords, where the foreign minister was called on to "distance herself" from the idea that the United Kingdom could go to war with Spain.
In July, Spain's Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador to protest what it described as reckless behavior by a Gibraltar police boat toward a Spanish police vessel.
Voters in Gibraltar, a strategically important rocky outpost at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, rejected the idea of Britain sharing sovereignty with Spain by 99 percent to 1 percent in 2002, but overwhelmingly backed remaining in the European Union in June's Brexit referendum.
Despite its geographical proximity to Spain, a visitor to Gibraltar would be forgiven for feeling much closer to London.
"Removal of the reference to Gibraltar would be a sign of good faith and good will", he said.
May, 60, has one of the toughest tasks of any recent British prime minister: holding Britain together in the face of renewed Scottish independence demands, while conducting talks with 27 other European Union states on finance, trade, security and other issues.May's spokesman sought to calm matters down, saying that what Howard "was trying to establish was the resolve that we will have to protect the rights of Gibraltar and its sovereignty".
"As long as the people of Gibraltar want to remain British, then they should remain British".
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