IT is the hot potato that nobody wants to hold on to and now the potential suspension of Catalonia ’s four newly installed prisoner MPs and senator is descending into political farce.

Spain’s Supreme Court took less than 24 hours to respond to a letter from Congress Speaker Meritxell Batet, to Carlos Lesmes, the court president, asking for a report on whether or not the five should be suspended.

Her letter came after presiding Judge Manuel Marchena had sent the request back to Congress a week ago, before MPs Oriol Junqueras, Jordi Sànchez, Josep Rull, Jordi Turull and Senator Raul Romeva were sworn in earlier this week.

Marchena, and the team of judges who are trying the prisoners – among 12 defendants on trial over the 2017 independence referendum – this morning replied to Batet, putting the ball back in the Congress board’s table.

They insist it is the board’s place to decide on suspension and that it is “unfeasible” to prepare the report requested by Batet.

She had sought clarification on whether detained MPs could be suspended through a similar legal device to that used last year to suspend members of the Catalan Parliament.

Defence lawyers had argued that the trial should be put on hold while the issue is settled, but the judiciary has rejected their case.

“The constitutional configuration of the Supreme Court makes the elaboration of the required report unviable,” the letter read. “Hence the need to limit ourselves to reiterating what was already reasoned … on May 14, 2019.

“The criminal case will continue its course and it is the mission of this room to safeguard the purposes of the process.”

The public prosecutor had called for the politicians to be immediately suspended from their roles, echoing Batet’s comment that “the jurisdictional function belongs exclusively to the judiciary”.