Reforms 'could make Catholics eligible for throne'
Moves to end the 300-year-long ban on Roman Catholics taking the throne and on eldest daughters succeeding as monarch are being seriously considered by Downing Street, it was reported today.
The Guardian said the constitutional reforms were included in proposals drawn up for Prime Minister Gordon Brown by Labour MP Chris Bryant.
Legislation including the 1701 Act of Settlement bars all Catholics and anyone married to a Catholic from reigning and forces any monarch coming to the throne to reject Catholicism.
A Downing Street spokesman said the Government was "always ready to consider the arguments" surrounding the issue.
But the Prime Minister is not believed to have been personally involved in the process and it is not Government policy.
"To bring about changes to the law on succession would be a complex undertaking involving amendment or repeal of a number of items of related legislation, as well as requiring the consent of legislatures of member nations of the Commonwealth," the spokesman said.
"As the Secretary of State for Justice said in the Commons on March 25, we are of course aware of the concerns felt by many and we are always ready to consider the arguments in this complex area."
Mr Bryant confirmed that he had submitted his proposals to No 10 but would not be drawn on their contents.
In a pamphlet published last week by the Local Government Association, he argued that forcing the monarch to swear to preserve the Church of England and uphold the Protestant line of succession almost certainly represented a breach of human rights.
And he suggested it was "inconceivable" that, should Prince William have a daughter before a son, she would not be the one to eventually take the throne.
Sweden, he pointed out, has already changed its law to deal with such a situation.
The MP, a former priest, also argued for reform of the constitutional role of the Church of England and of the "strange" powers of the Privy Council.
A future coronation would have to be "radically different" from that of the present Queen's, he suggested, "to recognise the monarch's role in protecting the freedoms of all citizens and subjects, rather than just the Church of England".
Liberal Democrat equalities spokeswoman Lynne Featherstone said: "This is an overdue but welcome move.
"Whilst the hereditary principle itself is obviously still a bit dodgy, at least this modernisation ends the outrageous discrimination against Catholics and women.
"As I pointed out earlier this year, it was completely unfair that Prince Edward's daughter was bumped down the list of succession in favour of her younger brother.
"We shouldn't kid ourselves that this change will make the difference for the millions of women who face lower wages and unfair conditions in their day to day lives.
"But, as we chip away at the established order, the message will eventually get through that men and women are equal.
"We can also put to bed centuries-old bigotry towards Catholics that has no place in our multi-faith society.
"I therefore hope the change will extend to royal spouses of all religions."
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Ian Watkins: Police forces probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
DNA from a 50,000 year old toe shows Neanderthals were highly inbred
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£60000 - £75000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A leading au...
£79000 - £93000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Commercial Property Associat...
£25000 - £32000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Business Analyst - Banking...
£21999 - £27001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have exten...