Prince Charles joked to Tony Blair that letter could be released under Freedom of Information in 'black spider' memo

The letter was written just months after the law came into effect

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Indy Politics

A successful legal battle to release Prince Charles’ Black Spider letters under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), has uncovered an apt correspondence in which the monarch jokingly acknowledged the legislation could one day make his writings public.

Following the decade-long court dispute involving the Guardian, the 27 letters Prince Charles wrote to Government ministers between September 2004 and April 2005 have been released over fears the unelected monarch unduly influenced politicians.

In a letter addressed to then Prime Minister Tony Blair months after the FOI Act came into force, Prince Charles wrote: “It was very good to see you again the other day, and as usual, I much enjoyed the opportunity to talk about a number of issues.

“You kindly suggested it would be helpful if I put them in writing – despite the Freedom of Information Act!”

 

In the document dated 24 February 2005, the Prince went on to address agricultural issues including bovine Tuberculosis.

Expressing concerns over the Government’s ten-year plan to control the disease, he wrote the policy did not include “a commitment to deal with the badger problem in the immediate future."

“There is a strong rumour that the Government may be intending to reduce the levels of compensation to farmers, something which, I happen to think, would be less than fair and would provoke real anger amongst farmers,” he wrote.

The Prince of Wales has since defended his decision to write to government ministers.

A Clarence House spokesman said: “The publication of private letters can only inhibit his ability to express the concerns and suggestions which have been put to him in the course of his travels and meetings.”

The statement also insists: “The Prince of Wales is raising issues of public concern, and trying to find practical ways to address the issues.”

Additional reporting by PA

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