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Warship heads for tense Gibraltar

By Richard Wheeler

A British warship will pay a "routine" visit to Gibraltar later this month, amid increased tensions in the overseas territory with Spain.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed HMS Westminster and two ships will visit Gibraltar while other elements of a task force will visit Spanish ports as part of training exercises known as Cougar 13. The MoD said the deployment is "long-planned" and not connected to the political tensions in the region, which have flared up after fears that a €50 (£43.30) fee could be imposed on every vehicle entering or leaving the British Mediterranean outpost through its border with Spain. There have also been claims of damage to fishing grounds caused by Gibraltarian authorities following the creation of an artificial reef.

A No 10 source said David Cameron made Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy aware the "routine deployment" of ships would be happening when they spoke on Wednesday.

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