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Support amendments to succession bill, Republic tells MPs

18 January 2013

Support amendments to succession bill, Republic tells MPs Republic has written to all MPs calling on them to challenge the Succession to the Crown bill next week and to support amendments that would end the succession altogether. Amendments have been tabled that would allow for a referendum on how Britain's next head of state should be chosen. Separate amendments have been tabled that would end the ban on Catholics becoming head of state. Republic has contacted all members of parliament highlighting a number of issues that the group believes should be raised during the Commons debate:

  • The bill completely misses the point: the monarchy discriminates against everyone and in 2013 MPs should not be writing new laws about how public office is inherited.
  • If parliament is going to spend time debating the monarchy then do it properly: far more important than the line of succession is the question of the royal veto on legislation and the royals' complete exemption from freedom of information laws.
  • This bill continues to enshrine in law a specific ban on Roman Catholics from becoming our head of state. This should be intolerable in a modern society.
  • An illustration of the absurdity of this bill - and the whole issue of royal succession - is that the new law says that the top six in line to the throne must ask the monarch permission before they can be married. How can we claim to be a modern mature democracy when such nonsense is being written into our laws in 2013?
  • Now is the time to begin a serious debate about moving to an elected head of state, not tinkering with medieval rules of succession that have no place in a democratic society.
  • MPs should support any amendments that seek to end the succession altogether.

Republic's chief executive Graham Smith said today: "It is absurd that in 2013 our parliament is debating a new law that would continue a hereditary succession, that would require people to ask permission to marry and ban Catholics from being head of state." "What we need is an end to the hereditary succession altogether. If we must wait for that to happen then the very least we could expect is an end to the ban on Catholics and a more sensible set of reforms." "This bill does nothing for gender equality. Instead why not legislate to abolish the royal veto, include the royals within the Freedom of Information Act or reduce the financial burden on the taxpayers." "We are calling on all MPs to support real democratic reform, to support the amendments that have been tabled and, at the very least, raise these important issues in parliament." "Republic's support base has been growing over the past two years and public reaction to issues such as the royal veto and the costs of the monarchy show there is an appetite for more serious change. It's a shame Nick Clegg is wasting his time on this nonsense when he could be proposing real reform."

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