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Monday, October 31, 2011

In search of royal approval

If there is one thing clear about this story which reveals that since 2005, ministers from six departments have sought the Prince of Wales' consent to draft bills on everything from road safety to gambling and the London Olympics, it is that it is not as secretive as the Guardian suggests. Nor does it appear that the Prince of Wales has actually vetoed anything.

On each occasion the Prince's consent has been reported to Parliament in open session. It is a process that is well known to those who follow the intricacies of government legislation, though almost certainly not widely known amongst the general public.

Nevertheless, the paper is right to suggest that it is an anachronism that has no place in a modern democracy. What other landowner has the right to veto clauses in bills that may impact on his or her interests? I am sure that they would all want such a right but there would be a public outcry if it were given to them.

Andrew George is absolutely right to demand some transparency in this process, including full publication of the correspondence between Ministers and the Prince of Wales regarding proposed legislation.

There is no place in a democracy for an unelected person of whatever standing to block or amend bills being considered by MPs, who are accountable for their actions to their constituents.

This is another provision that needs to be abolished. Maybe the Government can do it at the same time as they allow women to succeed to the throne and for future kings to marry Catholics.
The monarchy is an anachronism in a democracy, modern or otherwise.

As for the title of Prince of Wales, bearing in mind our history, it is an insult - an ongoing reminder of our long colonial history.
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