The Oxford Union, the debating club linked to the university of the same name, has invited Carles Puigdemont for an address and Q&A on 28th May. The event will be two days after the European Parliament election where Puigdemont is standing as a candidate.
This invitation appears to have touched a nerve with the Spanish ambassador to the UK, Carlos Bastarreche. The ambassador has even sent a letter to the prestigious society to complain.
In that letter, Bastarreche expresses his "firm disagreement" with the invitation, noting that Puigdemont is accused of "a series of crimes in Spain and, as such, has to respond to the legal authorities". In his opinion, the ambassador continues, the invitation to the former Catalan president is "extremely inappropriate", criticising the choice of the speech format, instead of a "plural" debate.
The Union had originally described Puigdemont as "head of the Catalonian Resistance", something Bastarreche sees as "morally unacceptable". "The use of the word resistance seems to suggest that there's a violent conflict in Catalonia which has to be resisted. That's obviously false and implies an intentional and severe distortion of the truth which offends many people," he wrote.
This won't be Puigdemont's first visit to the UK since he went into exile: the president gave a speech in London's Frontline Club on 13th December last year.