British MP Hywel Williams reported this Thursday that members of the UK Parliament "have been spied by agents" from the Spanish government, specifically following orders from the foreign ministry, in relation to their work on Catalonia.
Williams, from the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru, told the House of Commons that Spain made an "undercover surveillance" of the activities of the Parliamentary Group on Catalonia that he presides, composed of MPs from various parties. During his address, background shouting from other MPs can be heard: "shame, shame"
The evidence of this espionage, he defended, is found in the documents presented by the Spanish foreign ministry, led by Josep Borrell, in the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) to justify the closure of Catalan delegations abroad.
Williams explained that the Spanish State has spied on Catalonia APPG group members, which include representatives from the ruling Conservative Party, the pro-independence Scottish National Party and the Welsh Plaid Cymru.
He asserted that the documents submitted to the TSJC "reference is made to several meetings" of the APPG, "including one addressed by Josep Costa, the Deputy Speaker of the Catalan Parliament". The Welsh MP points out that the meetings of this parliamentary committee "were public" and regrets that "there was no need for participants, even those from the Spanish government, to hide their identities"
"This issue still has a long way to go" he said. Williams has assured that the document also talks of official documents belonging to the Welsh regional deputy Elin Jones and the Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon, "and many more."
Among them the Speaker of the House John Bercow himself -formerly a member of the Conservative Party- who, he said, is accused of "not being impartial" because of a comment he made on February 13, in response to a question about the imprisonment of the former Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell.
"A very serious question"
The vice president of the British Chamber, Eleanor Laing, intervened at the end of Williams's speech. "This is a very serious issue," she said, recalling that "openness" and "honesty" are values on which British democracy is based and that they "must be respected at all times."
Although she explained that she is not in a position to "take responsibility for matters that occur in Catalonia", she assured she was taking this issue "very seriously" and encouraged the fellow MP to submit it in writing to the Speaker of the chamber . "so that Mr Speaker can give this matter his proper consideration, not just a momentary consideration here in the chamber, but his full consideration, which it deserves"