UK 'won't recognise' Catalan independence

Theresa May and Mariano RajoyImage copyright
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Theresa May and Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy in 2016

The UK will not recognise the Catalan parliament’s decision to declare independence from Spain, Downing Street says.

Theresa May’s official spokesman said the declaration was based on a vote that had been declared illegal.

He added that the UK wanted to see the unity of Spain preserved.

The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, while the Spanish parliament has approved direct rule over the region.

The UK prime minister’s spokesman said in a statement: “The UK does not and will not recognise the unilateral declaration of independence made by the Catalan regional parliament.”

“It is based on a vote that was declared illegal by the Spanish courts. We continue to want to see the rule of law upheld, the Spanish constitution respected, and Spanish unity preserved.”

Catalan MPs backed the independence motion 70-10 in a ballot boycotted by the opposition.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had told senators direct rule was needed to return “law, democracy and stability” to Catalonia.

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Boris Johnson spoke to reporters in Lisbon

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson earlier offered his support to the Spanish PM.

After a meeting with Portugal’s foreign minister in Lisbon, he said: “We don’t think, as far as we understand the matter, that the referendum on independence was well-founded in law.

“Therefore we remain very clear in our view that we should uphold the constitutional integrity and sovereignty of our Spanish friends and that’s really our commitment and our pledge.”

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