When Catalonia went to the polls on 1st October 2017 for its independence referendum, Boris Johnson, set to become UK prime minister tomorrow, was the British foreign minister. He reacted to the events that day on Twitter, following the line taken by many international figures: it was "a matter for the Spanish [government and] people".
The Catalonian referendum is a matter for the Spanish govt & people. Imp that Spanish constitution respected & the rule of law upheld. (1/2)— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) October 1, 2017
He added that he believed it was "[important] that the Spanish Constitution [should be] respected & the rule of law upheld". In a second tweet, he described Spain as a "close ally and a good friend", whose "strength and unity" is relevant to the UK. He made no reference to the images of police violence that day aiming to suppress the referendum.
Spain is a close ally and a good friend, whose strength and unity matters to the UK. (2/2)— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) 1 d’octubre de 2017
His reaction was in contrast to that of some other UK politicians, for example Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who described the "police violence against citizens in Catalonia" as "shocking".
Police violence against citizens in #Catalonia is shocking. The Spanish government must act to end it now.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) October 1, 2017