Cross-party letter to Spanish government whose actions in Catalonia are violating democracy

Politicians from across Scotland’s constitutional divide have united to send a message to the Spanish government that its actions in Catalonia are violating the “the norms of European democracy”. 

In a letter (below) put together by Ross Greer and signed by MSPs from the Greens, Labour, SNP and Lib Dems, the politicians say that the escalation of tensions over the proposed independence referendum, to be held on 1 October, can only be resolved through political action, dialogue and by allowing the people to “express their will democratically”.

Ross Greer MSP, the Scottish Greens’ external affairs spokesperson, said:

“As MSPs we represent a spectrum of opinions on Scotland’s own constitutional debate and it’s certainly not for us to tell the Catalan people what choices they should make. As democrats and parliamentarians however, we must defend the right of peoples across the world to decide their own future and the right of elected representatives to carry out their duties to the people without fear of arrest.

“To see a state at the heart of Europe take such oppressive actions against its own people is simply unacceptable. The UK and Spain may be different places with different constitutional traditions but in Scotland we have proven that such significant questions can be answered through peaceful debate and dialogue. The Spanish government must try to find a political solution to this situation. The alternative, of arresting government staff & senior officials, raiding the offices of newspapers and political parties and deploying an increasingly militarised police against a democratic movement of citizens, is a dark road to go down.”

The Most Excellent Mariano Rajoy Brey

President of the Government of the Kingdom of Spain

Palacio de la Moncloa


22 September 2017

Dear Prime Minister Rajoy


As elected Members of the Scottish Parliament, we are writing to express our grave concern at the escalating actions of the Spanish state in Catalonia. We come from a range of political traditions, with differing views on Scotland’s constitutional future and a collective neutrality on the question being posed to the Catalan people but we are united in our belief in democracy.

The Spanish government claim to be acting in defence of democracy but threats of legal action against hundreds of democratically elected representatives and repressive acts against an elected government, media organisations and citizens are in no way democratic acts. The recent arrest of a Catalan government minister and a number of government staff was a particular violation of the norms of European democracy.

The situation in Catalonia is a political challenge and it can only be adequately resolved through political action, through dialogue and through allowing the people to express their will democratically. Legal action against the Catalan government, several hundred local mayors and others perceived to be facilitating the referendum is no way for a democratic European state to act against its own people.

We call on you and your government to engage with the Catalan government as partners in facilitating a democratic and just resolution to this situation. Work together to allow the people to decide their own future. This is the only sustainable and truly democratic solution.


Claudia Beamish MSP – Labour

Alex Cole-Hamilton – Liberal Democrat

Linda Fabiani MSP - SNP

Neil Findlay MSP - Labour

John Finnie MSP – Green

Kate Forbes MSP – SNP

Mairi Gougeon MSP - SNP

Ross Greer MSP – Green

Patrick Harvie MSP – Green (co-convenor)

Clre Haughey MSP - SNP

Alison Johnstone MSP - Green

Ruth MaGuire MSP - SNP

Gillian Martin MSP – SNP

Christina McKelvie MSP - SNP

Stuart McMillan MSP - SNP

Pauline McNeil MSP – Labour

Willie Rennie MSP – Liberal Democrat (leader)

Sandra White MSP – SNP


Ricardo Martínez VázquezConsul General of the Kingdom of Spain to Scotland

Carlos Bastarreche, Spanish Ambassador to the United Kingdom

Carles Puigdemont, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia

Carme Forcadell, Speaker of the Parliament of Catalonia