South West MEP threatened by Spanish internet "trolls" amid Gibraltar row
A South West MEP has been bombarded with abuse by Spanish internet "trolls" amid Britain's growing row over Gibraltar.
Julie Girling, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, has been labelled a Nazi and told she was "too ugly" to visit Spain by users of social network site Twitter and via email.
The offensive remarks followed the politician, who boasts Devon and Cornwall in her constituency, calling for British holidaymakers to boycott holidays in Spain.
Her comments came amid tactics by the Spanish government that are causing huge delays at the Gibraltar border.
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An online "troll" posts remarks on the internet that are designed to cause offence, often under the shroud of anonymity.
One person identifying themselves only as Javier said: "You are a nazi Julie Goering."
Other comments included "F***ing *****", "You're too ugly to visit Spain anyway", and a suggestion using racist terms that she should holiday in India.
Mrs 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."
Tensions were raised when the Spanish foreign minister threatened to charge thousands of workers £43 to cross the border. It followed Gibraltar creating an artificial reef which, the Spanish say, will destroy fishing in the area.
Madrid has stepped up border controls, which caused lengthy traffic queues for workers commuting between Spain and the island.
But Conservative MEP Ashley Fox, who also represents the South West England and Gibraltar, said Spain's actions were motivated by political and economic weaknesses in the country, not a "fishing dispute" with Gibraltar.
The Foreign Office is to lodge a formal complaint with Spain over the latest chaos at the Gibraltar border, which they have branded "unacceptable".
Last week, South West UK Independence Party MEP William Dartmouth urged the British Government to "show some backbone" by sending a battleship to the Rock.
On Monday, Westcountry-based Royal Marines, along with thousands of Royal Navy personnel, set sail for the Mediterranean and Gulf in a "routine" exercise where Gibraltar was their first port of call.
Cougar 13 will be led by the fleet's flagship, HMS Bulwark, which is based at Devonport, and backed up by HMS Montrose, also based in the city, and two other warships.
The UK has insisted the island is rightfully British after Spain ceded control of Gibraltar 300 years ago.