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Royal veto over laws must be scrapped: Republic

15 January 2013

Following revelations in the Guardian Republic has called for the royal veto over legislation to be scrapped. The campaign group is also calling for a full investigation into the extent of the royal consent rules and what laws have been amended on the direction of the Queen or Prince Charles. The documents were released under freedom of information laws to John Kirkhope, an academic researching the Duchy of Cornwall.  They reveal that royal consent is sought on a wide range of laws and bills and is much more than a formality. Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, said today: "The royal veto is a serious affront to our democracy.  It is extraordinary that in this day and age our elected politicians have to ask the permission of the Queen and her eldest son before they can pass new laws." "This is clearly more than a formality. It is hard to believe the palace's claim that consent is only withheld on the instruction of ministers.  Why would ministers advise the Queen to withhold consent from their own bill?" "Even the threat of withholding consent could be enough for legislation to be substantially altered - or dropped.  This is real power in the hands of the royals." "With Prince Charles routinely interfering in politics we can now see that he has real leverage over ministers.  It's no wonder they pay such close attention to his views." "The palace's claims this is nothing more than a formality are unbelievable: why did the government fight tooth and nail to keep this information secret?  It is time we had full disclosure on the extent of this royal power and how it has affected the laws we now all live under." “We need to know on what occasions laws have been amended or dropped as the result of royal consent being withheld.” “Nothing short of full disclosure is now required so MPs can get on with scrapping this requirement for royal consent.”

NOTES

The document released by the Cabinet Office can be seen at www.republic.org.uk/queensconsentcabinetdoc.pdf

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