More than 50,000 people have called for a parliamentary inquiry into a mysterious mechanism that allows the Queen to vet draft laws before they’re approved by the UK’s elected representatives.
They’ve signed a petition backing an urgent investigation by a House of Commons committee as they’re concerned that the royal family has a disturbing and undemocratic ability to influence the government behind closed doors.
The petition was started following an inquiry by a news outlet into an arcane mechanism known as Queen’s consent.
Under the procedure, ministers are expected to inform the Queen of draft laws that affect her personal property, such as her private estates in Balmoral and Sandringham, and possibly anything considered to affect her personally.
A newspaper outlet revealed how the Queen used the opaque mechanism to lobby for changes in proposed laws that affected her estates and pressed for government policy to be changed.
The paper also discovered documents revealing how the Queen’s representatives lobbied Edward Heath’s government to change a proposed transparency law, allowing her to hide her private wealth from the public.
The Queen’s representatives refused to say how many times she’d requested changes to legislation since she came to the throne in 1952.
The newspaper outlet gathered a database of at least 1,062 parliamentary bills that had been subjected to the antiquated mechanism during the current monarch’s reign, and it highlighted how the procedure had been exercised far more extensively than it was earlier thought.
The petition, organised by the campaigning group 38 Degrees, urges MPs on the public administration and constitutional affairs committee to explore how laws can’t be made without the Queen’s formal consent.
The petition says that it’s incomprehensible that in the 21st century, in a democracy, the Queen and the Prince of Wales hold such great power, and that it may well be a constitutional monarchy in theory, but it seems that the monarchy has a lot of power than many previously believed.
The request for an inquiry has been backed by a Labour MP who sits on the committee, Lloyd Russel-Moyle.
He said it was wrong that the mechanism operated in semi secrecy, and that if the royal household says it’s harmless, then they should let the public see that.
The petition has also been signed by the Labour peer Lord Berkeley, one of the few politicians to have questioned the mechanism in the past.
I guess some might say that the monarchy has been around longer than any politician and that they have more expertise in government than all of them, so why shouldn’t they vet laws that have an impact, especially if that impact is on them.
Well, I suppose that depends on whether you want to live in a democracy or not, and let’s face it, who gave them those powers? And if they’re abusing them for their own self-interests, then they shouldn’t have those powers in the first place.
Or is it that they use those powers to shield Prince Andrew from investigation? And what does the Queen do with that wealth, does she offshore it to someplace else? And her wealth is shameful!
And it would appear that the UK monarchy can veto laws proposed by parliament. Of course, a monarchy with no power would just be some variety of expensive museum exhibit, so one might wonder what is the point of it?
The Queen used the opaque mechanism to lobby for changes in proposed laws that affected her estates, and that’s the exact reason she shouldn’t be allowed to. It’s bad enough politicians exploiting the power we give them without the Queen fleecing the public purse even more.