HC Deb 18 February 1959 vol 600 cc357-8
30. Sir J. Crowder

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the continued discrimination against Protestant British subjects in Spain; and if he will make a further protest to the Spanish Government.

43. Sir F. Medlicott

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the concern felt amongst Protestants in this country in relation to the continued discrimination exercised against British Protestants in Spain; and what answer he received from the Spanish Government to his previous protest on this matter.

Mr. R. Allan

As my right hon. and learned Friend said in reply to the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) on 25th June last year, we know of no discrimination against British subjects as such, but if my hon. Friends have any particular cases in mind, I will gladly look into them if they will give me details.

Sir J. Crowther

Will the Minister have further inquiries made if I send him a copy of an article which appeared in The Times about ten days ago?

Mr. Allan


Sir F. Medlicott

Is my hon. Friend aware that the discrimination is against them as Protestants? Is he aware that this is coming very close to a denial of the freedom of worship? Will he remind the authorities concerned that we are living in the twentieth century and not the Middle Ages?

Mr. Allan

I quite understand my hon. Friend's point of view, but if the Protestants are Spaniards, then Her Majesty's Government have no locus standi. If they are British subjects we can take action.

Sir G. Nicholson

Does my hon. Friend mean to say that Her Majesty's Government completely disinterest themselves in a condition of religious persecution in a European State with whom we have tolerably friendly relations? Is he aware that this is exceedingly retrograde? Is he aware that in the 1830s George Borrow sold the Bible all over Spain and wrote a book about it? Is my hon. Friend aware that this is a very retrograde step? Will he ask Her Majesty's Minister to the Holy See to make representations in this matter?

Mr. Allan

I will draw the last suggestion to my right hon. and learned Friend's attention.

Mr. Ede

If the Foreign Secretary does not read The Times, can he at least read Milton's sonnet on the persecution of the Vaudois?