Skip to main content

Diplomatic Privilege

Volume 928: debated on Monday 21 March 1977

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what protests have been made by Her Majesty's Government to diplomatic missions accredited to the Court of St. James concerning their use or abuse of diplomatic privilege during each of the last five years for which records are available.

The number of cases in which representations were made by my right hon. Friend's Department to diplomatic missions in respect of abuse of diplomatic privilege in each of the last five years is as follows: 1972, three; 1973, five; 1974, seven; 1975, six; 1976, seven.From the similar wording of other Questions put down by my hon. Friend at the same time it would seem that he is concerned mainly with the use by members of the diplomatic corps of their immunity from the jurisdiction of our courts. In all the cases relating to criminal offences referred to in the replies of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary to these questions, appropriate action has been taken with the missions concerned. Where representations were considered necessary, and the facts were not in dispute, the missions themselves have taken appropriate disciplinary action.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has protested to the Libyan Embassy concerning its use of diplomatic privilege in the case of their diplomat accused of rape.

In accordance with the provisions of the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, the diplomat in question was released when it was established that he possessed immunity. The Libyan Embassy, however, terminated his employment in this country the day after he was released from custody and he left the country the same day.The Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964 gives effect to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 to which the United Kingdom, in company with most other States in the world, is a party. The Convention provides that diplomats shall enjoy immunity from all forms of criminal jurisdiction.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which missions he approached in the years 1976 and 1977 to protest concerning their use or abuse of diplomatic privilege in connection with parking offences; and with what results.

Heads of Missions have had their personal attention drawn regularly to the number of parking offences committed by members of their staff with the request that appropriate action be taken. We have evidence that, as a result of our representations, there has been a reduction in the number of diplomatic parking offences in recent months. We are persisting in our efforts to bring about a further improvement in the situation.