The All Party Parliamentary Group On Catalonia

 

The purpose of the All-Party Parlamentary Group on Catalonia is to develop links between parlamentarians in this country and in Catalonia. To keep members of Parliament abreast of the on-going debates and events about Catalonia self-determination and to help ensure that debate is carried out in the most democratic way.

 

Questions on Catalonia to the Minister for Europe and the Americas, 17 October 2017

 

Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr) (PC)

11. What representations he has received on the independence referendum held in Catalonia on 1 October 2017. [901182]

 

The Minister for Europe and the Americas (Sir Alan Duncan)

I discussed Catalonia with the Spanish ambassador to the UK on 11 October. Our embassy in Madrid regularly discusses the issue with the Spanish Government. We also routinely engage with the Catalan regional Government on matters that fall properly within their competence.

 

Jonathan Edwards

The referendum provided a clear mandate for independence with over 92% of voters voting yes, despite horrific violence by the Spanish authorities. Yesterday pro-independence leaders were detained and charged with sedition. Surely the British Government and the international community should now be guided by the words of Woodrow Wilson:

“‘Self-determination’ is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of actions”.

We should support the values of peace and democracy, not the forces of oppression.

 

Sir Alan Duncan

It is the rule of law that needs to govern the decision affecting the future of Catalonia. We fully defend the rule of law and actively assert that this can take place only within the proper workings of the Spanish constitution…

 

Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP)

As Amnesty International among others has pointed out, the disproportionate use of force by police against civilians is contrary to international law. What representations has the Minister made to his Spanish counterparts about the treatment by Spanish police of civilians voting in the Catalonian independence referendum?

 

Sir Alan Duncan

People understand that we do not wish to see scenes such as that, but it is the duty of everyone in this House personally to uphold the rule of law. I very much regret that Scottish National party Members considered it appropriate to call themselves “official” observers at what was an illegal referendum…

 

Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP)

 

On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Speaker

 

I believe that the point of order springs directly out of questions, and for that reason I will take it now—otherwise it would come after statements—but it must be done briefly.

 

Joanna Cherry

 

I seek an apology from the Minister for Europe and the Americas, the right hon. Member ​for Rutland and Melton (Sir Alan Duncan), who is no longer in his seat. The SNP did not send official observers to the Catalonian referendum. The Catalonian Government invited observers from across Europe and the Israeli Knesset. In addition to me, other Members of the House and a peer of the House of Lords, Lord Rennard, were present. We were there as international parliamentary observers, just as Conservative Members were in Gibraltar in 2002 at the request of the Gibraltar Government, despite that being an illegal referendum. I would like an apology and the record set straight.

 

Mr Speaker

I have understood the hon. and learned Lady, but we do not need to delve into the archives and refer back to 2002 and comparable examples. I recognise it is something that a distinguished legal practitioner is accustomed to doing, but we are short of time. If Ministers want to apologise, they can, but they are not under any obligation to do so.

 

Hansard, 17 October 2017

 

 

 

Report Back From Parliamentary Observers of the Catalan Referendum

 

 

 

Wednesday 18 October 2017, 6-9pm

Committee Room 17, Upper Committee Corridor, Palace of Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA

 

Hywel Williams MP, Joanna Cherry MP, Douglas Chapman MP and Lord Rennard reported back on their visit to Catalonia to be International Observers of the 1 October referendum. A lively question and answer session followed.

 

The meeting agreed to invite the New York Times's reporter in Spain, Raphael Minder, to address the November meetng of the APPG on the subject of his new book, "The Struggle for Catalonia."

 

 

Thanks For Your Support

Letter to APPG Members from the President of the Catalan Parliament

 

 

Dear APPG Catalonia members,

 

I sincerely appreciate the article you’ve wrote days ago in relation to the current political situation in Catalonia. We especially value international support that raises this case and is expressed through initiatives such as yours.

 

The people of Catalonia are only legitimately and peacefully asking to vote freely and democratically to decide their political future. Unfortunately, the Spanish government refuses to listen to this request and has begun judicial repression against Catalan institutions, public servants, citizens and civil society organisations. This repression does not respect the democratic guarantees that Spain theoretically recognises.

 

Although the referendum is not a crime under the Spanish penal code, they have made any action aimed at organising it criminal. They have taken control of the Catalan Government’s finances. They have sent police officers to raid the headquarters of the Government of Catalonia and have arrested public servants. And when the public have demonstrated peacefully to protest against these attacks, the Spanish Government has responded judicially with accusations of “sedition”.

 

Given the seriousness of these actions, if I may I would ask you to follow the evolution of the events that take place in Catalonia in the immediate future. Your support is essential to preserve peace, democracy, civil liberties and fundamental rights in Catalonia.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Carme Forcadell i Lluís
Presidenta

Parc de la Ciutadella. 08003 Barcelona
Tel. 933 046 500 – Fax 933 046 506

oficina.presidencia@parlament.cat

www.parlament.cat

 

 

 

Letter From Members and Supporters of the APPG Catalonia on the Current Situation in Catalonia

 

c/o Hywel Williams MP                                                                                21 September 2017

Houses of Parliament

Westminster

London 

SW1A 0AA

 

E-mail: info@appgcatalonia.org.uk

 

We, the undersigned, have a range of opinions on whether Catalonia should be independent or remain part of Spain. However, we all agree that the issue should be decided by the people of Catalonia in a democratic and peaceful way.

 

Consequently we are extremely disturbed by the measures taken by the Spanish Government to prevent the referendum, agreed to by the Catalan Parliament, taking place on 1 October.

 

These measures include: 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 and banning a public meeting called in Madrid to discuss the issue. The Spanish government are taking further steps daily and have now sent in the Civil Guards to occupy government buildings, with ministers and officials arrested, and the Spanish Government has taken control of the Catalan Government’s finances.

 

Both King Felipe V1 and the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, have publicly called on Catalans not to vote. We believe, however, that the democratic way to proceed would for opponents of Catalan independence to campaign for their position in the referendum. That was the stance of the UK government in respect of the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014.

 

This referendum was democratically agreed to by the Catalan Parliament. To attempt to impede or stop it 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.

 

We call on the Spanish Government to allow this democratic test of Catalan opinion to go ahead on 1 October without further hindrance.

 

Hywel Williams MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia

Lord Berkeley

Deidre Brock MP

Douglas Chapman MP

Joanna Cherry MP

Ronnie Cowan MP

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP

Patricia Gibson MP

Neil Gray MP

Drew Henry MP

Ben Lake MP

Chris Law MP

Stewart McDonald MP

Angus B. MacNeil MP

Carol Monaghan MP

Gavin Newlands MP

Lord Rennard

Andrew Rosindell MP

Tommy Sheppard MP

Chris Stephens MP

Martin Vickers MP

Lord Wigley

 

This was published in The Guardian on 22 September 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/21/spains-dangerous-bid-to-block-catalan-vote

 

 

Speaker of the House of Commons welcomes the President of the Catalan Parliament to Westminster

 

The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, welcomes the President of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, to the Chamber of the House of Commons.

 

 

 

[Mr Speaker in the Chair]

 
  •  
     

    Colleagues, we are pleased to be joined today by Speaker Carme Forcadell, the Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia, who is visiting London, and whom we are delighted to see. Welcome to you.

 

 

The APPG on Catalonia meets with the President of the Catalan Parliament, Ms. Carme Forcadell

 

The Rt. Hon. Ms. Carme Forcadell with some of the MPs and Peers who attended the meeting with her on Monday 3 July 2017 in Parliament. From left to right: Baroness Hooper, Lord Berkeley, Chris Law MP, Ronnie Cowan MP, Chris Stephens MP, Ms. Carme Forcadell, Hywel Williams MP, Sergi Marcen, Head of the Catalan Delegation to the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Douglas Chapman MP.

 

Hywel Williams MP is the new Chair of the APPG on Catalonia. The group's Vice-Chairs are Douglas Chapman MP, Baroness Hooper, Lord Berkeley, Andrew Rosindell MP, Lord Rennard, Roger Godsiff MP and Baroness Garden.

 

Six Parliamentarians agreed to add their names in support of the APPG: Lord Berkeley, Deidre Brock MP, Ronnie Cowan MP, Chris Stephens MP, Ben Lake MP, and Pete Wishart MP.

 

It was agreed the APPG would send a delegation of Parliamentarians to Catalonia in September prior to the Catalan referendum. 

 

 

 

Carme Forcadell, President of the Catalan Parliament, addresses MPs and Peers of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia at the conclusion of her visit to Westminster.

 

 

Members and Peers Supporting the APPG on Catalonia 2017 Parliament

 

Hywel Williams MP- Chair

Douglas Chapman MP- Vice-Chair

Baroness Garden- Vice-Chair

Roger Godsiff MP- Vice-Chair

Baroness Hooper- Vice-Chair

Lord Rennard- Vice-Chair

Andrew Rosindell MP- Vice-Chair

Lord Alderdice

Sir David Amess MP

Lord Berkeley

Deidre Brock MP

Joanna Cherry MP

Ronnie Cowan MP

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP

Marion Fellows MP

Hugh Gaffney MP

Neil Gray MP

Drew Hendry MP

Ben Lake MP

Pauline Latham MP

Chris Law MP

Angus MacNeil MP

John McNally MP

Gavin Newlands MP

Carol Monaghan MP

Lord Northbrook

Baroness Sharples

Liz Saville Roberts MP

Tommy Shepphard MP

Chris Stephens MP

Alison Thewliss MP

Catherine West MP

Lord Wigley

Pete Wishart MP

 

Public Enquiry Point:

Chris Bambery

info@appgcatalonia.org.uk

07986 085162

 

 

Meeting At Westminster With Raul Romeva, Catalan Minister of Foreign Affairs

 

It was standing room only as over 100 people crammed to hear Raul Romeva, the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Catalan Government explain why there is growing tension between Barcelona and Madrid over the Catalan Government's wish to hold a referendum on independence in late 2017.

The Minister addresses an audience of MPs, Peers, diplomats, academics and the general public and then took part in a lively question and answer session.

 

The following day he was interviewed in The National which you can access HERE

http://www.thenational.scot/news/15155919.Catalan_independence_referendum____should_be_based_on_Scotland_s_2014_poll_/

 

Media Coverage in English

 

Catalan News Agency

Romeva at Westminster: “There is more interest in discussing the Catalan question here than in Spain”

http://www.catalannewsagency.com/politics/item/romeva-sees-more-interest-in-discussing-the-catalan-question-at-westminster-than-in-spain

 

Catalan News Agency Videos

For film reporyt follow this link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGgA2TWer4Q

 

Media Coverage in Catalan and Spanish

 

El Punt Avui

El diputat escocès George Kerevan lamenta que el procés català no hagi arribat “ni a la taula de negociació”

http://www.elpuntavui.cat/politica/article/17-politica/1093975-el-diputat-escoces-george-kerevan-lamenta-que-el-proces-catala-no-hagi-arribat-ni-a-la-taula-de-negociacio.html

 

Vilaweb

Romeva diu que hi ha més interès per a tractar la qüestió catalana a Westminster que no a l’estat espanyol

http://www.vilaweb.cat/noticies/romeva-assegura-que-hi-ha-mes-interes-per-tractar-la-questio-catalana-a-westminster-que-a-lestat-espanyol/

 

El Pias

El Parlamento de Westminster se abre a Cataluña

http://www.elpais.cr/2017/03/15/el-parlamento-de-westminster-se-abre-a-cataluna/

 

Diari de Girona

Romeva presenta un grup sobre Catalunya a Londres

http://www.diaridegirona.cat/catalunya/2017/03/15/romeva-presenta-grup-sobre-catalunya/834641.html

 

<<

Minutes of Inaugural the All Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia

Held in Room Q, Portcullis House, 1 March 2017, 6.30pm

Minutes of the Meeting

 

Parliamentarians Present:

Margaret Ferrier MP, George Kerevan MP (chairing), Chris Law MP, John Nicolson MP, Lord Rennard, Andrew Rossindell MP, Tommy Shepphard MP, Hywel Williams MP

 

  1. The Proposed Statement of Purpose was agreed:

 “The APPG on Catalonia aims to develop links between parliamentarians in this country and in Catalonia; to keep MPs and Peers abreast of the on-going debates and events pertaining to the issue of Catalan self-determination and to help ensure that debate is carried out in the most democratic way.”

  1. The Proposed List of Officers was agreed:

Chair: George Kerevan MP (SNP)

Vice Chairs: Andrew Rosindell MP (Conservative), Margaret Ritchie MP (SDLP), Roger Godsiff MP (Labour), Lord Rennard (Liberal Democrat), Lord Wigley Plaid Cymru), Douglas Chapman MP (SNP)

It was also agreed to add Margaret Ferrier MP (SNP) and Chris Law MP (SNP) as Vice Chairs

     3) It was agreed the Public Enquiry Point

Chris Bambery, Parliamentary Assistant to George Kerevan MP

  1. It was agreed that the APPG on Catalonia will host a meeting at the Palace of Westminster with the Catalan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, on Tuesday 1 March in Committee Room: 12 Palace of Westminster, 6-8pm. All MPs and Peers are invited to hear and question Mr. Romeva,

The meeting was closed.

 

 

Chair:

George Kerevan MP (SNP)

 

Vice Chairs:

Andrew Rosindell MP (Conservative), Margaret Ferrier MP (SNP), Margaret Ritchie MP (SDLP), Roger Godsiff MP (Labour), Chris Law MP (SNP), Lord Rennard (Liberal Democrat), Lord Wigley (Plaid Cymru), Douglas Chapman MP (SNP)

 

Public Enquiry Point:

Chris Bambery, Parliamentary Assistant to George Kerevan MP:

bamberyc@parliament.uk, 0208 219 6770, 07986 085162

 

MPs and Peers Supporting APPG on Catalonia 2015-2017 Parliament

 

Lord Alderdice (Liberal Democrat)

Sir David Amess (Conservative)

Phil Boswell (SNP)

Chris Bryant (Labour)

Douglas Chapman (SNP)

Martin Docherty-Hughes (SNP)

Margaret Ferrier (SNP)

Baroness Garden of Frognal (Liberal Democrat)

Roger Godsiff (Labour)

Baroness Hooper (Conservative)

Lord Jones of Cheltenham (Liberal Democrat)

George Kerevan (SNP)

Pauline Latham (Conservative)

Chris Law (SNP)

Paul Monaghan (SNP)

Lord Rennard (Liberal Democrat)

Andrew Rosindell (Conservative)

Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru)

Baroness Sharples (Conservative)

Tommy Shepphard MP (SNP)

Lord Wigley (Plaid Cymru)

Hywel Williams (Plaid Cymru)

 

RaulRomeva, Catalan Minister of Foreign Affairs, addresses an audience in Committee Room 12 of the House of Commons on Tuesday 14 March 2017. Listening intently in the front row is Geoff Cowling, former British counsel in Barcelona. To Raul's left are George Kerevan MP, Sergi Marcen, Delegate of the Catalan Government to the UK and Ireland, Lord Wigley and Roger Godsiff MP

Platform from Left to Right: Raul Romeva, George Kerevan MP, Sergi Marcin, Lord Wigley, Roger Godsiff MP and in front of Roger Baroness Hooper.

Mark Durkan MP joins the platform (far right)