The Minister of Defence, María Dolores de Cospedal, caused controversy before Spain's national day celebrations on Thursday by telling a television show she was "almost" certain the central government would not have to use the Armed Forces as part of the Catalan crisis.

Asked about the government's plan for applying Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to suspend home rule, she replied it was acting with "proportionality" and "firmness".

Pressed further on Article 8, which defines the main constitutional role of the Armed Forces, Mrs. De Cospedal replied: "I am almost completely certain it is not going to be necessary to use them".

"We have they duty, and they have the duty", she added: "they know they do, to be ready, the men and women who make up the the armed forces, to defend their country, either at home or abroad".

"I believe it is not going to be necessary but there are still many things and actions they can carry out."

"The armed forces have the role of defending the constitutional order, the national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of our country and they are ready to do whatever is needed on the orders of the government of their country, which is the constitutional government."

On October 5, Mrs. De Cospedal warned against tyranny and said: "Everything outside of democracy is a threat to our nation".