The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), presently under construction at CERN, requires monitoring the parasitic charge in the 3.3 ms long gap in the machine fill structure. This gap, referred to as the abort gap, corresponds to the raise time of the abort kickers magnets. Any circulating particle present in the abort gap at the time of the kickers firing is lost inside the ring, rather than in the beam dump, and can potentially damage a number of the LHC components. CERN specifications indicate a linear density of 6 x 106 protons over a 100 ns interval as the maximum charge safely allowed to accumulate in the abort gap at 7 TeV. We present a study of an abort gap monitor, based on a photomultiplier tube with a gated microchannel plate, which would allow for detecting such low charge densities by monitoring the synchrotron radiation emitted in the dedicated diagnostics port. We show results of beam test experiments at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) using a Hamamatsu 5961U MCP-PMT, which indicate that such an instrument has the required sensitivity to meet LHC specifications.