In a statement released earlier today, Government have said that the tone and the content of the comments against Gibraltar uttered yesterday in the Spanish Parliament by PP spokesperson Teofila Martinez have turned the clock back to the days of former Foreign Minister Margallo.

"It is shameful that an elected representative of the party in Government in Spain should incite hatred against Gibraltar and its people by spreading falsehoods and untruths in this way." continues the statement.

Her comments were also completely out of tune and out of touch with the views expressed by the representatives of all the other political parties in Spain who spoke on the Motion tabled by the PSOE which called for greater flexibility and fluidity at the border.

"Teofila Martinez has displayed a level of venom and of hatred towards Gibraltar which is frightening and which is based on complete ignorance and a lack of knowledge of the facts. The truth is that there is a considerable degree of cooperation at a local level between the law enforcement agencies of Gibraltar and of Spain. What these officers do not need is people like her getting in the way of this positive cooperation as a consequence of her inflammatory and ill-informed comments.

It is all the more surprising that someone who comes from Cadiz should behave as if she were unaware that there are 13,000 people who live in Spain and who work in Gibraltar, many thousands of whom are Spanish citizens. Moreover, businesses based in Gibraltar import hundreds of millions of pounds every year from Spanish companies. Residents of Gibraltar spend many millions more on leisure and other activities in Spain. Gibraltar therefore makes a huge contribution to the Spanish economy, particularly in the region next door where it is the second largest employer for the whole of Andalucia.

The destructive and negative politics that Teofila Martinez stands for is more in tune with the Spain of General Franco and it has no place in the modern Europe of today.'