Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

'Pack his sombrero, sangria and go'... DUP MP Ian Paisley jnr urges Hague to get tough with Spanish ambassador envoy over Gibraltar

Ian Paisley jnr
Ian Paisley jnr

DUP MP Ian Paisley jnr has said the Spanish ambassador to the United Kingdom should "pack his sombrero, straw donkey and sangria and go" if a spat between the two countries over Gibraltar is not resolved.

The UK and Spain have been involved in a row regarding delays at the Gibraltar border.

There have been huge delays at the border in recent months after Spain introduced stringent checks on traffic passing through its checkpoints.

The UK's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, updated MPs on the situation on Monday, warning there could be reprisals if the situation is not resolved.

A furious Mr Paisley, MP for North Antrim, called on the Government to get tough with the Spanish authorities, singling out their ambassador to the UK, Federico Trillo.

Mr Paisley told the Commons: "In seven days' time, the people of Gibraltar will celebrate their national day and I hope they will be able to celebrate it in a spirit of peace and stability.

"Can I make it abundantly clear to the Spanish that if they continue their hostility to the people of Gibraltar, that you (Mr Hague) will tell the ambassador here in London to pack his sombrero, straw donkey and sangria and go?"

Mr Hague replied: "There have been occasions in recent weeks when we have summoned the Spanish ambassador, but I think if you'll forgive me we will use slightly more diplomatic language than you are recommending."

Mr Hague said Gibraltar "is British and wants to stay British".

Mr Trillo was summoned to the Foreign Office in August regarding the border checks.

Prime Minister David Cameron is still considering taking Spain to the European courts for breaking the law on free movement within the EU.

Earlier this year Mr Paisley apologised for using a perceived racist slur on live radio.

He used the word "chinky" in an interview on BBC Radio Ulster regarding Liam Neeson receiving the freedom of Ballymena.

Mr Paisley, who was at the ceremony, was giving details to the show's host Alan Simpson about the actor's visit.

Towards the end of the interview Mr Simpson asked the politician what his plans were for that evening.

The DUP MP replied: "Well, I'm getting a chinky tonight, I don't know what you're doing."

Patrick Yu, executive director of the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, said the term was deeply insulting to members of the Chinese community.

"Ian did not in any way mean to be insulting, nor would he ever wish to offend any minority group throughout Northern Ireland," a spokesman for Mr Paisley said.

In 2007, Mr Paisley was embroiled in controversy after telling a magazine he was "repulsed" by homosexuals. Four years later he said his views had "matured".

The Belfast Telegraph attempted to contact Mr Paisley yesterday but was unable to do so.

QUOTE

"In seven days' time, the people of Gibraltar will celebrate their national day and I hope they will be able to celebrate it in a spirit of peace and stability. Can I make it abundantly clear to the Spanish that if they continue their hostility to the people of Gibraltar, that you will tell the ambassador here in London to pack his sombrero, straw donkey and sangria and go?"

Ian Paisley jnr

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