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Republic: Royal succession bill debate "a sad day for democracy"

22 January 2013

Campaign group Republic has slammed Nick Clegg for "railroading" his succession bill through parliament without allowing a full debate on the monarchy. The group has said the debate in the House of Commons highlighted the woeful state of Britain's democratic culture and showed a complete disrespect for the British people. The Succession to the Crown Bill received its second reading and committee stages this afternoon. MPs from both sides of the house - including Paul Flynn and Jacob Rees-Mogg - criticised the government for not scheduling enough time to discuss the issues raised by the bill. Republican MPs had tabled amendments that would have led to a debate on having an elected head of state, but these were not selected by the speaker.

Republic's chief executive Graham Smith said: "We've always said this bill is pointless tinkering: the monarchy still discriminates against every other person in the country and anti-Catholic discrimination will be further entrenched in law." "There is no excuse for not allowing a full and wide-ranging debate about the issues the bill raises. Clegg has railroaded this through parliament without giving MPs a chance to fully consider its implications. This has been a sad day for democracy." "The debate that has taken place this afternoon shows just how little value our politicians put on democratic principles. A debate about our constitution was more concerned with what the monarch might call her husband than the rights of British citizens to have a say." "This was a missed opportunity to look seriously at our constitutional arrangements and the future of the monarchy. Public reaction to issues such as the royal veto and the costs of the monarchy shows there is an appetite for serious change - it's a shame Nick Clegg denied MPs the chance to debate real reform." "There were plenty of fawning and fatuous tributes to the royals but I didn't hear the word 'democracy' once."

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