Editorial: Excuse us, Your Majesty, for taking of the liberty...

The Queen yesterday became the first monarch to attend a cabinet meeting in peacetime since the 18th century. And although Her Majesty was accorded only observer status, which seemed a bit mean given her position as head of state, we feel that the presence of an outsider at the cabinet table, however privileged this particular outsider, is a precedent that could usefully be extended.

So how about inviting members of the public to take part in a draw to fill a vacant place at the cabinet table, say, once a month? They, too, could enjoy observer status for 30 minutes or so and watch a snatch of the functioning of government close up. If the PM was feeling generous, the visitor might even be permitted to say a word or two. And think of this: no one would have to cast around for a tract of far-flung territory to name in his or her honour; a seat at the august table would be reward enough.

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