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Update 00:19 The Metropolitan Police have entered the Ecuadorian embassy therefore diplomatic status must have been revoked.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|