» Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Royal Succession

Asked about the talks the Prime Minister had had with the Palace regarding changing the laws of succession, the Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) told the assembled press that this was an issue that had been raised from time to time. The Prime Minister had said today that he considered the Act to be outdated. The key point was that it could only be changed with the agreement of other Commonwealth countries or those of the Realm. Buckingham Palace had said today that it was entirely a British Government initiative and it was for the Prime Minister to seek views of the Realms in this situation.

The Prime Minister in answering the question in PMQs had reiterated what he had said previously. There were two facets to this; one was the primogeniture issue and the other being those in the line of succession marrying Roman Catholics. It was a coincidence that this had come up so close to CHOGM as it was not on the formal agenda.

Asked if this issue would be talked about informally, the PMS said that it could come up in discussions in the fringes, but it was not part of the formal agenda. The Prime Minister had said that it would be looked at in due course.

Asked if there were any specific proposals to change the law, the PMS replied there were no specific proposals; the Prime Minister was asked a question and he gave an answer. He had also spoken about the issue in March, again in response to a question.

Put that the Prime Minister had seemed well prepared for the question, the PMS replied that the Prime Minister had an excellent team around him who helped him prepare for PMQs and he was re-stating what he had said as recently as March.

Asked if any change had to be agreed unanimously by the Realm, the PMS said that he thought any decision would need to include New Zealand, Canada and Australia and that it would be done by a majority verdict but he would check.

Asked if the Prime Minister would use the informal discussions at CHOGM to talk about the issue, the PMS said that that was not the case. There was no sense of the Prime Minister actively trying to promote this at CHOGM.

Asked if this was a case of the Prime Minister pretending he wanted to do something about an issue while not actually doing very much, the PMS said that that was an unfair characterisation; the Prime Minister was asked a question at PMQs which he responded to. It was an important issue that did not need to be rushed at and required further discussion.

Put that there was no real resistance coming from Commonwealth countries but from the Palace itself, the PMS said that the Palace had been very clear; the Queen took advice from the Prime Minister on the issue.

Asked whether the Queen had an opinion about both issues, the PMS said that as people would know, constitutionally it was not for the Queen to express a view on these issues; she would receive advice from the Prime Minister. The PMS added that people should talk to the Palace directly with any other questions.

original source.

Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news

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