Charles told to stay quiet after grammar school revelation

Labour MP says Prince should follow the example of the Queen 'who has kept her mouth bandaged for 60 years'

Prince Charles is again facing criticism for involving himself in politics beyond his constitutional remit, after it emerged that he had tried to influence several Labour ministers over policies.

David Blunkett was among those who disclosed they had been contacted by the Prince of Wales, with the former Education Secretary revealing the heir to the throne wanted to bring back grammar schools.

Labour MP Paul Flynn, for Newport West, warned on Sunday that the Prince could cause a constitutional crisis if he continued to interfere, saying he should follow the example of the Queen “who has kept her mouth bandaged for 60 years”.

Republic, an anti-monarchy pressure group, said Prince Charles had been having “numerous meetings” with ministers since the Coalition took over from Labour in 2010. Graham Smith, its chief executive, said: “We know this lobbying is going on. What the public don’t know is how much policy is being shaped by Charles.”

Professor John Curtice, of Strathclude University, said it was reasonable for Charles to write to ministers on subjects when he had made his views known publicly. “If they are not known, it’s a bit more difficult,” he said. “I’m not quite sure we knew Charles was in favour of grammar schools.”

A BBC Radio 4 documentary revealed on Sunday that Prince Charles had urged Mr Blunkett to back grammar schools when the Labour MP was Education minister, would “consort together privately” with former Environment minister Michael Meacher to influence Prime Minister Tony Blair on climate change, and had shared an interest with former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain in promoting complementary medicines.

Mr Blunkett said: “I would explain that our policy was not to expand grammar schools and he didn’t like that. He was very keen that we go back to a different era where youngsters had what he would have seen as the opportunity to escape from their background whereas I wanted to change their background. I can see constitutionally that there is an argument that the heir to the throne should not get involved in controversy: the truth is I didn’t mind.”

Mr Meacher said on climate change and genetically modified crops: “I knew that he largely agreed with me and he knew I largely agreed with him. We were together in trying to persuade Tony Blair to change course.”

While some feared a crisis over the Prince’s interference in democracy, others took the opportunity to poke fun at him. Broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer tweeted: “Surprised that Prince Charles wanted more grammar schools. You’d think that selection based  on ability and merit wasn’t really his thing.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'