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Spain 'won't show disdain for Gibraltar', Gove insists

Michael Gove has dismissed concerns that Spain might use a Brexit to pressure Gibraltar at the border, insisting Madrid would not show such “disdain” toward Gibraltarians.

The UK's justice secretary, a prominent Brexit campaigner, made the comment during a debate on Sky News last night in response to a question on Gibraltar.

He drew an immediate response from Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who said on Twitter that Mr Gove was "100% wrong" about Spain's post-Brexit threats toward Gibraltar, which had been "loud and clear".

Michael Gove Sky News

The issue of Gibraltar was raised during the hour-long debate on Sky News by a member of the studio audience.

“Spain has threatened to close the border with Gibraltar. If they do, what are you going to do?” he asked the Conservative politician.

Mr Gove replied that if the UK voted to leave the EU, other countries would have to recognise that democratic vote and accept that relations with the UK would be “in a different world”.

“I don’t think it’s the case that Spain, having fought so hard to establish democracy, is now going to show disdain for democracy and for the people of Gibraltar,” he said.

“And one of the things about the position of people in any country where the British flag flies is that they know that their interests are best protected by strong and confident and independent Britain, and for that reason I think that the day afterwards we’ll find that some of those politicians and others who’ve been warning us and perhaps feeding project fear will respect a democratic vote in the home of democracy.”

Mr Picardo reacted on Twitter.