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 ce...