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Diplomatic Immunity

Volume 81: debated on Monday 17 June 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commowealth Affairs what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards the exercise of their powers to send back to their country of origin foreign diplomats who refuse to vacate rented premises when requested to do so by the owners of the property; and if he will make a statement.

Requests by landlords to tenants to vacate premises may lead to a dispute about the legal rights of each side. As was stated in the recent White Paper on Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges (Cmnd. 9497), we take a serious view of any reliance on diplomatic immunity from civil jurisdiction to evade a legal obligation, or to impose on another party to a dispute the person's own view as to liability. In such cases we try to bring the parties together to ensure a satisfactory outcome. But if it is thought appropriate we are prepared to consider the removal of a diplomat who abuses his immunity in this way.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will review the status of representatives of foreign Governments and organisations based in the United Kingdom and the diplomatic immunities and privileges granted to them; and if he will make a statement.

We have just concluded a review of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and reported to Parliament (Cmnd. 9497). Our policy towards international organisations is based on the principle that they should receive only such privileges and immunities as are necessary to enable them to carry out their functions. This principle is elaborated in Resolution (69)29 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House (in an appendix to Council of Europe Assembly Document No. 2623).