.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Saturday, September 01, 2012

A royal prerogative

Yesterday's Guardian says that the way in which the Royal family, and Prince Charles in particular, are able to influence legislation so as to protect their own interests is about to be exposed in graphic detail.

The information commissioner has ruled that the Cabinet Office must publish an internal Whitehall guide to the way the senior royals are consulted before legislation is introduced:

The application of the controversial veto was revealed by the Guardian last year and has been described by constitutional lawyers as "a royal nuclear deterrent". Some believe its existence may underpin the influence Charles appears to wield in Whitehall over pet issues ranging from architecture to healthcare.

A judgment issued last week by the deputy information commissioner, Graham Smith, means the Cabinet Office has until 25 September to release the confidential internal manual. It details how the consent of "The Crown and The Duchy of Cornwall" is obtained before bills are passed into law and what criteria ministers apply before asking the royals to amend draft laws. If it fails to do so it could face high court action.

In the past two parliamentary sessions Charles has been asked to consent to at least 12 draft bills on everything from wreck removals to co-operative societies. Between 2007-09 he was consulted on bills relating to coroners, economic development and construction, marine and coastal access, housing and regeneration, energy and planning. In Charles's case, the little-known power stems from his role as the head of the £700m Duchy of Cornwall estate that provides his £17m-a-year private income.

The government battled to keep the manual secret, claiming publication would breach legal professional privilege and a spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office said it was still deciding whether to challenge the ruling at the information tribunal.

These rules apply to the Welsh Assembly as well of course, but it is difficult to see how we can pass any law that might impact on the Duchy of Cornwall. Still it is worth a try I suppose.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?