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British Protestant Church, Seville (Attack)

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1952

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13.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that, on 4th March, an attack was made on the British-owned Protestant church in Seville, when the minister was knocked down and the furniture and hymn books were set on fire; and if he will make a protest to the Spanish Government and demand compensation for the minister and for the damage done to the furniture.

Yes, Sir. Her Majesty's Ambassador at Madrid has reported this most regrettable act of hooliganism and has delivered a Note to the Spanish Government reserving the right to present a claim for compensation to cover damage to British property. As soon as fuller details of the incident and an exact assessment of the damage are available, I will consider what form our representations to the Spanish Government should take.

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that this is simply the culmination of a whole series of attacks on Protestant churches, and that I have in my hand a list of nine, the last being an attack at Oreuse, where the Protestant chapel was blown up by a bomb?

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman also bear in mind that previous attacks have been made against Protestant churches in Spain; and will he take every opportunity of emphasising to the world that we in this country are irrevocably opposed to religious persecution, whether it is against Catholics in Hungary or Protestants in Spain?

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman also aware that that is the normal condition in another country? Is he aware that a Catholic church in Willowfield, Belfast, was bombed, and that the friends of the hon. Member for Antrim, South (Sir D. Savory), were not prosecuted?