A SCOTS MP has called for Catalonia’s political prisoners to be freed while raising the prospect of the installation of a new Spanish president bringing stability to the relationship between the two sides.

The SNP’s Douglas Chapman was speaking after meeting Elisenda Paluzie, president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) at the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Catalonia at Westminster.

He said he had lodged an Early Day Motion (EDM) welcoming the new Spanish government and the re-establishment of the Catalan government and parliament.

Chapman said: “We in the SNP have said since the referendum held last October that the only way to resolve the situation will be through respectful political dialogue and if both parties see the current developments as an opportunity then that chance should be taken.

“I have also asked that the political prisoners are released from jail in Madrid. To hold democratically elected politicians or to force them into exile to avoid threat of arrest while they were carrying out their democratic duties is simply unacceptable.

“We are obviously particularly concerned about Clara Ponsati who is exiled in Scotland and awaits news about her fate. While we are hopeful of a change of political direction, early signs are not encouraging given some of the comments of the newly appointed Spanish ministers for foreign affairs and for Catalonia.

“The APPG for Catalonia will continue to pursue a respectful and pragmatic outcome, although we do not underestimate the challenges and difficulties involved.”

Paluzie briefed the group on the Catalan crisis, and said she was sceptical of the possibility that the government of Spain’s new socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez would be more favourable to dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona.

“I do not expect any changes,” she said, before going on to criticise the appointment of the new Foreign Affairs Minister: “Josep Borrell is a Catalan Jacobin who speaks of disinfection. I do not see any real possibility of political change. But the independentist parties supported the motion of censure [against Mariano Rajoy] to keep in power the chief responsible for the situation that had arrived had not been understood.”

Paluzie said she had explained the Catalan crisis and demanded international solidarity with the deposed ministers and politicians who have been imprisoned for months.

She added: “I have explained that the judgment of the Supreme Court of the autumn will be very important and I have spoken of the violation of rights and the accusation of rebellion, a crime that has very high penalties and requires a violence that has not occurred.”

Paluzie also called for international action, along the lines of the “Burgos process” in 1969 – where 16 members of Basque nationalist group ETA faced a death sentence after an attack in which a police officer died. The trial provoked huge international demonstrations and the case became a turning point for the Francoist regime, marking the beginning of the end of the dictatorship.

Franco was forced to commute the death penalties and six defendants were jailed for 30 years.

Paluzie said politicians here – including some who had been observers at the Catalan poll – had expressed shock that political leaders were in jail for organising a plebiscite.

She said: “People are very shocked and are absolutely outraged that political leaders may be in jail for having organised a referendum, in particular in Great Britain, where a referendum was agreed between the Scottish and British governments.

“Some members who were international observers on October 1 and experienced violence first hand of the Spanish police.”