Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union, delivering the first result of the night in the UK-wide knife-edge referendum.
Gibraltar voted by 19,322 votes to 823 to stay in the EU, meaning 96% of the electorate chose Remain.
Turnout was 84%, with 20,172 of the 24,119 eligible voters participating in the historic referendum.
The result was delivered by Counting Officer Paul Martinez at the University of Gibraltar earlier than expected at around 12.40am. It was broadcast live by major UK channels including ITV and the BBC.
Speaking immediately after the result, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said the staggering support for Remain illustrated how Gibraltar pulled together in the face of adversity.
“By our standards this is enormous,” he said, as he thanked Mr Martinez and his Civil Service team for their hard work.
“This result demonstrates that the will of the people of Gibraltar is overwhelming to remain a part of the European Union. Gibraltar and the Gibraltarians, perhaps more so than many others have ‘skin in the game’ of staying a part of Europe.”
“Europe matters to us and we demonstrate that tonight.”
“This echoes the results of an earlier referendum, it is clear that the people of Gibraltar want to remain British and part of the European Union.”
“Whatever the result of the rest of the poll in the United Kingdom the mandate from the people of Gibraltar to its political leaders is clear.”
“Tonight we must fight to retain access to the single market and to remain British forever.”
The message of unity was echoed by Gemma Vasquez, the chairman of the Gibraltar Stronger In Europe campaign.
Mrs Vasquez said the community had stood “shoulder to shoulder” across generations and shown “unity beyond political parties” to speak with one voice.
“We have all witnessed the strength of our country when it stands as one and it makes me very proud as a Gibraltarian to say that,” she said.
Despite the positive reactions to the local result, the mood last night was tempered by the fact that the final result had yet to be announced.
FULL STORY IN OUR PRINT AND E-EDITIONS