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Spain 'doesn't like' news of Cameron's visit to Gibraltar, Rajoy says

Spain’s acting Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has expressed his government’s unease at today’s visit to Gibraltar by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Speaking on Radio Nacional de España, he nonetheless said Spain would not make any formal diplomatic protest as a result of the visit, adding that it was important for the UK to remain inside the European Union.

“The government doesn’t like the fact that Mr Cameron is going to Gibraltar,” Sr Rajoy said.

“What is being debated is whether the United Kingdom remains or leaves the European Union, and that campaign should be carried out in the United Kingdom, not in Gibraltar.”

“That is how it should be.”

Sr Rajoy re-stated Spain’s traditional position on Gibraltar’s sovereignty.

“Spain still believes that Gibraltar is part of its national territory and not the United Kingdom’s,” he said, adding that this would not change whatever the result of the referendum.

Sr Rajoy also confirmed that there had been contact between his office and No 10 Downing Street yesterday ahead of the visit and that both sides had reaffirmed traditional positions.

He also stressed that Spain believed the UK was better off inside the EU, not just for its own sake but for that of the bloc as a whole.

“[A vote to leave] would not be good for the British or Spanish economies…” he said.