The King of Spain’s state visit to Britain, which will coincide with the snap June 8 general election, will go ahead, Downing Street has said. King Felipe VI will visit Britain along with Queen Letizia of Spain from June 6 to 8, as the campaign reaches its climax.
In an election set to be defined by Brexit, the visit could prove awkward given tensions over the sovereignty of Gibraltar.
Earlier this month, Theresa May warned that Gibraltar’s status will not be up for discussion during exit talks after European Council president Donald Tusk suggested Spain, which also claims sovereignty of the Rock, could veto its inclusion in any post-Brexit trade deal.
The move caused fury in Gibraltar – which accused the EU of “bullying” – while former Conservative Party leader Lord Howard even suggested Mrs May could go to war to defend the British enclave.
While few at Westminster seriously expect it to come to an armed conflict, there is concern among some MPs the EU intends to use the issue as leverage in the Brexit talks.