SPAIN’S foreign minister has ignited fresh Brexit tensions by saying Madrid will not stand in the way of an independent Scotland joining the EU.
Josep Borrell’s inflammatory remarks attracted widespread criticism among British Conservatives, who called his comments hypocritical.
The foreign minister said: “I am very [more] worried about the unity of the United Kingdom than the unity of the Kingdom of Spain.
“I think the United Kingdom will split apart before the Kingdom of Spain.”
Borrell stands accused of hypocrisy because his views of Scottish Nationalism are seen by many as conflicting with Madrid’s tough stance on Catalan independence.
Former Brexit minister David Jones labelled Borrell’s comments ‘appalling hypocrisy’, while the Scottish Conservatives said the foreign minister was ‘quite simply wrong’.
First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, came out in support of the Spanish, saying that his remarks demolished a ‘Unionist scare story’.
It comes as Spain has doubled down on its promise to vote down a Brexit deal over Gibraltar, despite earlier having promised not to veto any deal on the Rock’s future.
Yesterday Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said: “As of today, if there are no changes with respect to Gibraltar, Spain will vote no to the agreement on Brexit.”
His foreign minister Josep Borrell had earlier said: “We want to make sure the interpretation of this text is clear and shows that what’s being negotiated between the EU and the UK does not apply to Gibraltar”