UK MPs call on Spain to allow October 1 vote
Westminster group “extremely disturbed” by arrests and raids and calls on Rajoy executive to permit independence vote “without further hindrance”
A score of UK MPs and members of the House of Lords have called on the Spanish government to allow the October 1 referendum to go ahead “without further hindrance.” In an open letter, the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia insists that “the democratic way to proceed would for opponents of Catalan independence to campaign for their position in the referendum.”
Referring to the UK government’s approach to the 2014 independence referendum in Scotland, the letter’s signatories describe themselves as “extremely disturbed” by the arrests and raids carried out by the Guardia Civil police and say that the attempt to prevent the October 1 vote “through sanctions, criminal charges and direct action by the Spanish state is an affront to democracy and threatens to embitter relations between Catalonia and the rest of Spain.”
Test of Catalan opinion
The letter also condemns the Spanish authorities for “taking to court 700 Catalan mayors for allowing preparations for the vote to go ahead, seizing campaign material and ballot papers, threatening to cut off power to polling stations, arresting and charging a newspaper editor accused of aiding the preparations for the referendum.” Moreover, the signatories acknowledge that “this referendum was democratically agreed to by the Catalan Parliament,” and they call on the Spanish government “to allow this democratic test of Catalan opinion to go ahead on 1 October without further hindrance.”
Among the MPs and officials who signed the letter are members of the UK’s main Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties in Westminster, as well as 14 members of the Scottish National Party and two members of the Plaid Cymru Welsh nationalists.