A LEADER of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists in Catalonia has come under fire for suggesting that if almost two-thirds of Catalans wanted independence, a mechanism had to be found to accommodate it.

The remarks from Miquel Iceta, first secretary of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), came in an interview with the Basque newspaper Berria (New). However, he said the pro-indy lobby had to postpone any referendum for between 10 and 15 years, until there was a change in Spanish public opinion, and he rejected the Scottish indyref model: “If 65% of citizens want independence, democracy must find a mechanism to enable it. But not ... 47%, nor 51%.”

Asked if this would come from an agreed referendum, he replied: “First, an agreement is needed in the parliament, and then a vote of citizens.”

Iceta also spoke about the possibility of pardons for those being tried in the Spanish Supreme Court over the October 2017 Catalan indyref, in which he admitted mistakes had been made.

He said: “The state made a grave error against the people. It was a big blunder – besides the physical injuries, it caused a great social pain.”

Iceta later took to Twitter to correct his comments and stress his belief in federalism: “I am opposed to independence. I do not think that a referendum on independence is a solution for a society divided in two. I believe that the solution to self-government and financing is a possible federal or federal state.”

Pablo Casado, president of the unionist People’s Party (PP), said Iceta had revealed collusion towards an agreement between the Socialists’ Catalonia’s the pro-indy parties. He said: “Miquel Iceta spoke the truth, he said that ... in 10 years there will be a social majority that demands the independence of Catalonia. I believe this is very serious, but at least I value telling the truth because this is the roadmap Pedro Sanchez agreed to with [Catalan President Quim] Torra before the summer.”

Spanish Vice-President Carmen Calvo told Spanish state broadcaster TVE: “Iceta is an anti-independentist socialist and our country has no legal structure so that no-one with a referendum on their territory breaks the unity of Spain.”

Spain’s solicitor general, meanwhile, has joined an appeal by the Spanish police union in a Barcelona court to demand that 36 voters at four polling stations during the indyref be investigated for attempting to prevent the police operation to stop it.

The officere said video evidence showed people deliberately impeding the police, while using “shouts, insults and threatening gestures, and linking their arms together to avoid being removed”.