A barrage of vicious online abuse has been hurled at a British MEP who intervened in the mounting dispute over Gibraltar.
Julie Girling, who represents the Rock in Brussels, was called a “Nazi” and “too ugly to visit Spain” by Twitter users.
The abuse came after Girling said Spain was causing huge delays at the Gibraltar border and that British holidaymakers should boycott the country.
The UK government said it was considering legal action after Spain began additional border checks in Gibraltar. The Royal Gibraltar Police said the checks had caused drivers to queue for around three hours.
Tensions have mounted in recent weeks after Gibraltar created an artificial reef which, the Spanish say, will destroy fishing in the area.
Girling said: “It may be that to be trolled goes with the job. However, the Spanish Twitter trolls aren’t doing their argument any favours by trolling me.
“Their abuse shows they have no argument as they can only resort to the lowest form of language.
“The people of Gibraltar need our support. They will not be bullied by the Spanish Government or by a minority of the Spanish people. Neither will I.”
Gibraltar, a limestone outcrop at the mouth of the Mediterranean, is a British Overseas Territory, although Spain, which it borders, also claims sovereignty. The people who live there are British citizens but they run their own affairs under a chief minister.
The territory is self-governing in all matters – including taxation – except foreign policy and defence, which are dealt with by the British government.
PRESS RELEASE: Boycott Spain Urges Euro MP http://t.co/3WTOXkMRUY— Julie Girling (@juliegirling) August 5, 2013
— que mas da (@flotontinoperez) August 14, 2013
juliegirling</a> Pues no venir a España, sois muy feos solo os queremos por vuestro dinero, pero os cambiamos por los Paises Arabes. CHAO. (juliegirling Therefore not come to Spain, you are very ugly only you want for your money, but you change by Paises Arabes. CHAO.)
Gracias por todos los mensajes de apoyo para Gibraltar desde Cataluña. Animo a mis electores a tomar sus vacaciones con ustedes! Gracias.— Julie Girling (@juliegirling) August 15, 2013