A number of constituents have contacted me regarding the independence movement in Catalonia.
The Kingdom of Spain is a close ally and good friend to the UK. The UK has been clear that questions relating to Catalonia are a matter for the Government and people of Spain.
I understand that the referendum of 1 October was found by the Spanish courts to be in breach of the Spanish constitution. The UK Government considers it essential that the rule of law be upheld and the Spanish constitution respected, and that differences are resolved within that framework.
The matter will receive the attention it deserves from Parliamentarians too. In Westminster Hall on Tuesday, a debate was held on the Catalan independence movement, in that debate the Minister for Asia and the Pacific (who was standing in for the Minister for Europe and the Americas) said the following:
“Hon. Members, in the course of speeches or interventions, have made several points and there is understandably strong feeling across various shades of opinion about what is happening in Catalonia. It is entirely right and understandable that this place [Parliament] should have a keen interest in Spain, which is after all one of our closest and strongest European friends and allies. As many hon. Members know, we have a significant expatriate population living in Spain, including a significant number in the Catalonian region.”
I was of course concerned to see the violence that occurred on 1 October - nobody wants to see such distressing scenes on the streets. It is important that all parties resolve political differences peacefully, and in line with the Spanish legal framework and their constitution. The Government has also said that UK citizens in Catalonia continue to enjoy the same constitutional rights as UK citizens in any other autonomous community of the Kingdom of Spain.