Former Tory leader Lord Howard has been condemned by critics after appearing to suggest Theresa May would be prepared to go to war over Gibraltar.
The Prime Minister has vowed not to trade away the Rock's sovereignty in pursuit of a trade deal with the European Union as the UK withdraws from the bloc.
The issue of Gibraltar was raised in the draft EU negotiating guidelines circulated by European Council president Donald Tusk, which indicated Madrid would be given a veto over the British overseas territory's participation in a future deal.
In a series of TV interviews, Lord Howard repeatedly compared the situation to the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands which led to war with the UK.
He told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "Thirty-five years ago this week, another woman prime minister sent a taskforce halfway across the world to defend the freedom of another small group of British people against another Spanish-speaking country, and I'm absolutely certain that our current prime minister will show the same resolve in standing by the people of Gibraltar."
Asked if he was "seriously suggesting" war with Spain, Lord Howard told Channel 4 News: "Of course not."
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "It is unbelievable that within a week of triggering Article 50 there are Conservatives already discussing potential wars with our European neighbours."