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The British ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, is well familiar with the situation in Catalonia. Manley, whose wife is Catalan, found himself in the centre of a diplomatic incident in May 2016 when he tweeted about a meeting with then vice-president Oriol Junqueras "to talk about the economic relationship between the United Kingdom and Catalonia". He later sent a tweet saying "we value the relationships we have with all the autonomous communities" and reportedly apologised to the Spanish government by telephone for what they had seen as putting the UK and Catalonia on the same level.

This Thursday, he met with Catalan vice-president Pere Aragonès and foreign minister Alfred Bosch to discuss the consequences of Brexit, leading to a more formal tweet. The Catalan government's press release said it took the opportunity to "express its respect and admiration to the British institutions for their democratic quality".

Translation: A pleasure to meet with Pere Aragonès who's heading the response from the Catalan government to Brexit, to talk about our exit from the EU. We're going to protect the rights of European citizens and want to strengthen our excellent trade links.

By coincidence, also today, Spain got the EU to describe Gibraltar as a "colony of the British Crown" in a law for the first time. The bill in question relates to conditions on visa-free travel following Brexit.

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