Thursday 16 August 2012

No to Revoking Ecuadorian Diplomatic status

I'm shocked that our Foreign Office has even considered revoking the diplomatic status of any embassy on British soil. To do so simply to be able to arrest someone who is claiming asylum within that embassy is sickening.

Somebody at the Foreign Office was obviously hoping to get into the new series of Yes Minister when it comes to the screens. They clearly have not thought of the ramifications of such an action.

How can a nation that claims to be an example of democracy and diplomacy even contemplate such an action? All embassies around the world are considered sovereign territories of the nation that they represent. If this action is taken by the Foreign Office it ranks alongside the Iranian regime invading the US embassy compound in Tehran from 1979-80 as an act of aggression against the ambassador, who happens to be a guest of the Court of St. James and therefore the Queen.

But the ramifications are greater. If the UK are capable of doing this what protection is there in any despotic, or dictatorial nation in doing exactly what they want to any embassy they want to and that includes UK ones. Our own diplomats would not be safe anywhere in the world.

There is no way that this course of action to get hold of Julian Assange can be allowed to go ahead. It should never have been a threat made to embassy personnel. If the Government revokes the Diplomatic and Consular  Premises Act 1987 without outcry from the Liberal Democrat ministers from Nick Clegg down I will be left with no option but to leave the party. This is something that cannot happen on the watch of a party that stands for liberal and democratic principles.

Update 00:19 The Metropolitan Police have entered the Ecuadorian embassy therefore diplomatic status must have been revoked. I am therefore composing a very strongly worded email that will go to the party leadership in the morning.

From Steve Bell in The Guardian


  1. Why should Assange not be sent to face trial for serious offences in Sweden, a place where the justice system is fair?

    I think Ecuador is stretching its power to grant asylum way beyond the provisions of international law. It's supposed to be for people who are persecuted for political or religious beliefs,not for people accused of ordinary crimes who are trying to evade trial.

    Amnesty International have released their 2012 report on Ecuador's human rights - they lock up people who criticise the Government. You have to wonder what their agenda is with Assange.

    You know me - I'm about as bleeding heart a liberal as you can get. That's partly the reason I want Assange to face trial.

  2. Irrelevant of who the individual is, or what the crime he is wanted for questioning on, or which embassy he has sought asylum in. The fact that our nation is looking at temporarily removing an embassy's diplomatic status to go in to arrest someone who has sought the protection of that other sovereign territory is the issue. Once we bridge that gap the whole element of trust in diplomatic relations world wide falls into question.