Campaigners have welcomed clarification from Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, on the right of MPs to discuss the royals in parliament.

Anti-monarchy group Republic wrote to the Speaker after Labour leader Keir Starmer was reprimanded for mentioning the Queen during Prime Minister's Questions.

In parliament Hoyle had said: "We normally would not, and quite rightly, mention the royal family" adding that "we don't get into discussion on the royal family".

In response to Republic, the Speaker said:

"There is no general prohibition on discussing of matters relating to the Royal Family in the House of Commons and recent press coverage has rather confused the issue."

"there is no prohibition of debating a motion which explicitly criticises such people."

The Speaker clarified that a key issue was not allowing MPs to claim a royal supported their view.

Graham Smith, speaking for Republic, said today:

"It is fundamentally important that our MPs are free to debate whatever they choose, and the royals cannot be off limits."

"Clearly, with scandals engulfing the monarchy, including Prince Andrew's settlement, accusations of racism and the police investigation into Charles's cash-for-honours allegations, MPs must step up and debate these issues."

"The bigger problem here is the unwillingness of MPs to talk about the monarchy. That has to stop, we need to start seeing leadership on this issue from parliament."

"With the Queen's reign coming to an end, MPs must now start talking about what comes next. We cannot simply be told there is no debate to be had, we cannot ignore the democratic alternative that allows us to choose our next head of state.

"Right now, MPs need to start asking tough questions about Prince Andrew's settlement, Prince Charles's donors being offered honours and much, much more."


Read the letter from the Speaker