Tuesday 31 October
Things are heating up in Catalonia after the Attorney General of Spain, José Manuel Maza, recommended prosecution against Catalan separatists – including Catalonia’s deposed regional president Carles Puigdemont – on charges of rebellion, sedition, and misuse of public funds.
Last Friday Madrid responded to a Catalan declaration of independence by voting to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution and take direct rule of the region, pending a fresh set of elections in the coming months. Spanish leaders had initially suggested that Puigdemont would be free to run once again for office, but the tone changed yesterday after calls for his prosecution.
In response, Puigdemont and allies fled to Belgium where it is thought they may seek to claim political asylum. Theo Francken, the country’s Secretary of State for Immigration & Asylum, initially welcomed an application but Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel subsequently warned against “fanning the flames” by offering asylum.
International criticism of the Spanish government has been muted, with political establishments wary about fighting back against the suppression of political opposition in Spain. Nigel Farage, however, hit out and said that “any pretence that Catalans can have free and fair elections on December 21st has been destroyed by the charges of rebellion and sedition”.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Belgium, a trio of Remoaners made a secretive visit to EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels. Former Deputy PM Nick Clegg – who was so unpopular in Sheffield Hallam that he lost his seat earlier this year to foul-mouthed manchild Jared O’Mara – led a group consisting of himself, Ken Clarke, and Labour peer Andrew Andonis, but refused to open up about the nature of their meeting.
Nigel Farage responded brilliantly, as usual, demanding his own meeting with Mr Barnier. Farage, speaking on behalf of the 17.4m Brits who voted to quit the failed EU, speaks for Britain with much greater legitimacy than the trio of bitter losers who met with Barnier yesterday. Farage pointed out that Barnier is “listening to a group of people who want to stop or delay Brexit”. Only time will tell if Mr Farage will get the same treatment.
Asked if he was attempting to put the brakes on Brexit, Clegg joked that he wished “it were that easy”. Comments about attempts to block Brexit have taken on greater significance, however, now that government ministers have conceded that a Brexit deal will need the support of parliament in order to be legally binding, giving bitter Remoaners yet another chance to undo the will of the British people. They will discover that there are bitter electoral consequences if they try to meddle.
— LEAVE.EU ?? (@LeaveEUOfficial) October 30, 2017
Click here to view previous issues of Brexit Brunch