Paul Flynn MP argues for a wider open debate not just on succession, but on the wider future of the monarchy in Britain.
Rules of royal succession have been immutable for 311 years. No longer do they have the authority of Holy Writ. Arcane restrictions will change. Other anachronisms can now be debated and modernised.
Defenders of royalty hoped to strip out some egregiously indefensible features of the succession rules in a single day. An unlikely coalition of royalists, republicans and royalty sought and won more time. Unintended consequences are feared. Opportunities for a thorough reform were demanded.
Many people believe Charles would be an unsuitable head of state. Most would prefer the Cambridges to rule at the demise of the Queen. New proposed clauses seek to reform the succession on democratic lines fit for the 21st century. The public should have a choice of Charles, William or Citizen A.N. Other.
The Queen's faultless reign has been exceptional. In the past troublesome monarchs were the norm. Charles has been an incurable meddler in political affairs. He threatened to relocate to Switzerland if the Hunting Bill was passed. It was. He didn’t. Would he sign all future bills? The Attorney General overturned a FOI ruling on Charles' letters to government ministers because 'disclosure could damage The Prince of Wales’ ability to perform his duties when he becomes King'. The public have the right to be fully informed on the foibles of the future Charles III.
Downing Street failed to suppress news of the eye-popping powers of royals to ditch parliamentary bills. One to transfer power to wage war from Monarch to the Commons was vetoed by the Queen. My hope of a free open debate is on a protozoan level. Fixers will deny an adult discussion. Confronted by royalty, Parliament becomes infantilised and squirms and fawns like a nursery class meeting Santa Claus.