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Diplomatic Immunity: Serious Offences

Volume 687: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Margaret Beckett) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Following my Written Ministerial Statement of 12 July (Official Report, col. WS 45) about the change of policy on disclosure of information relating to serious offences allegedly committed by persons entitled to diplomatic immunity, I have today placed in the Libraries of both Houses a list of foreign missions whose diplomats allegedly committed serious offences and the type of offence in 2005.

From a community of around 23,000 in the United Kingdom entitled to immunity, 17 serious offences, allegedly committed by such persons, were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2005. “Serious offences” are defined in accordance with the 1985 White Paper on diplomatic immunities and privileges—that is, as offences that would in certain circumstances carry a penalty of 12 or more months’ imprisonment.