The government has confirmed that republicanism is still punishable by life imprisonment and that it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen.
The revelation comes as the Ministry of Justice embarrassingly admitted that a law threatening to jail for life anyone who has called for the abolition of the monarchy had been mistakenly included on a list of 309 offences due to be repealed before May.
Although the law has not been used to prosecute anyone since 1879, it means that it is still theoretically possible to imprison for life anybody who even so much as "imagines" overthrowing the Crown or waging war against the Queen.
Yesterday, it emerged “being an incorrigible rogue”, under the Vagrancy Act 1824, had also been repealed.
A total of 327 criminal offences were also created in the year to May, a 12% increase compared with the previous 12 months.
In full, section three of the Treason Felony Act 1848 reads:
If any person whatsoever shall, within the United Kingdom or without, compass, imagine, invent, devise, or intend to deprive or depose our Most Gracious Lady the Queen, from the style, honour, or royal name of the imperial crown of the United Kingdom, or of any other of her Majesty's dominions and countries, or to levy war against her Majesty, within any part of the United Kingdom, in order by force or constraint to compel her to change her measures or counsels, or in order to put any force or constraint upon or in order to intimidate or overawe both Houses or either House of Parliament, or to move or stir any foreigner or stranger with force to invade the United Kingdom or any other of her Majesty's dominions or countries under the obeisance of her Majesty, and such compassings, imaginations, inventions, devices, or intentions, or any of them, shall express, utter, or declare, by publishing any printing or writing ... or by any overt act or deed, every person so offending shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be liable ... to be transported beyond the seas for the term of his or her natural life.
- More about:
- Alan Rusbridger
- Human Rights
- Newspapers And Magazines
- Sea And Ocean
- Supreme Court
- The Guardian