Spanish Military

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th July 1989.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow 12:00 am, 11th July 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his latest discussions with the Spanish military authorities.

Photo of Sir Archie Hamilton Sir Archie Hamilton The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State paid a most successful and interesting official visit to Spain on 19 and 20 June. He had wide-ranging and useful discussions with his Spanish colleague, Senor Serra, on Alliance and bilateral matters, and visited the naval base at Rota. The Ministers reaffirmed their desire that the close bilateral relationship which has grown up between the British and Spanish armed forces in recent years should continue to be developed.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , Linlithgow

Have Ministers any reason to disbelieve the Spanish authorities when they claim that the IRA team in Gibraltar had six members and not three?

Photo of Sir Archie Hamilton Sir Archie Hamilton The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

I do not think that that was anything to do with the Spanish authorities. A statement was made by Inspector Rayo to Inspector Correa of the Gibraltar coroner's office on 8 August. It was signed by Rayo and witnessed by Correa. On 9 August, Rayo submitted a signed carbon copy of the statement to the Malaga judge and attested his signature. Correa attested his signature before the Malaga judge on 22 August. The copy plus attestations was passed to the British embassy in Madrid. That copy was not sworn and, therefore, of no greater validity. We must emphasise that there is only one statement, but there were two copies.