POLITICS

Boris Johnson Compares Gibraltar Row With Franco And The Falklands

12/08/2013 12:25 BST | Updated 12/08/2013 12:43 BST

Boris Johnson has waded into the spat between the UK and Spain over Gibraltar - comparing it with the Falklands and accusing the Spanish of a "Franco-style blockade".

Vehicle checks at the border have created huge queues, while Gibraltar's decision to drop concrete blocks into the coast - to encourage sea life - has sparked anger in Madrid.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Johnson said: "I hope that one way or another we will shortly prise Spanish hands off the throat of our colony, because what is now taking place is infamous.

"The Spanish authorities have decided, for no good reason, to revive the border checks and general harassment of the Franco epoch.

"They are causing delay and botheration and they are now threatening a tax on goods vehicles going to the Rock. That is illegal under EU law, and tantamount to a blockade.

"They must stop it all, and pronto."

Johnson recalled a previous visit to the Rock, comparing it to "Blackpool in the Seventies" with citizens who were "almost hysterical" about their Britishness.

Johnson said the Spanish were trying to divert attention from their economic woes:

"Forget all this palaver about a few concrete blocks that have been dumped in the sea," he wrote.

"That isn’t why the Spanish are going back to the Franco-style blockade.

"This isn’t a row about fish. I am afraid that this is a blatant diversionary tactic by Madrid, and though it would be ludicrous to compare the Rajoy government with the tyranny of General Galtieri and his invasion of the Falklands, the gambit is more or less the same."