Senior Tory backs taxing the Queen

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The Independent Online
SIR MARCUS FOX, chairman of the influential Tory backbench 1922 committee, last night backed growing demands for the Queen to pay taxes.

Sir Marcus said he wanted the Royal Family 'brought into line with present day thinking', which would exclude minor members from the Civil List. 'I am not opposed to the Queen paying tax,' he said on London Weekend Television's Special Inquiry. 'The King, the Queen paid tax up to 1936 . . . I would tax them.'

He said the Civil List - the public money allocated to royalty for expenses arising from official duties - should remain for leading royals. 'But once you move down the scale then I can see a lot of reasons why they should, dare I say, go out and get a job.'

Sir Marcus also said that in the current climate of change, the Royal Family's advisers were 'not necessarily the best people to advise them'. But he added that he would much rather have a monarchy than a republic along the lines of the United States or France.

Last month, Buckingham Palace and Downing Street dismissed reports that the Queen had agreed in principle to pay tax and had briefed Farrer's, her solicitors, of her intention.

The reports followed speculation among Royal watchers that a concession on tax could help restore the Royal Family's standing after publicity concerning the Duchess of York and the Princess of Wales.

Also speaking on last night's programme, the former Labour deputy leader Roy Hattersley said people would want a republic if the monarchy did not adjust to the times. He added that he wanted the young Royals to go to state schools.

'I want the next King but one to be a man who actually understands how the majority of the citizens of the country live, and that cannot happen while the monarchy is organised in its present way,' he said.

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