Secret royal veto powers over new laws exposed to public

Is this where the final say on law in the UK must reside?

A little-known power enjoyed by the Queen and Prince of Wales to alter new laws is due to be exposed after the government lost a legal battle to keep details of its application private.

The information commissioner has ruled that the Cabinet Office must publish an internal Whitehall guide to the way the senior royals are consulted before legislation is introduced to ensure it does not harm their private interests.

The application of the controversial veto was revealed by the Guardian last year and has been described by constitutional lawyers as “a royal nuclear deterrent”. Some believe it may underpin the influence Prince Charles appears to wield in Whitehall over pet issues ranging from architecture to healthcare…

Lord Berkeley, a Labour peer who was told to seek Charles’s consent on a marine navigation bill, said the commissioner’s decision was “absolutely right”. He said publication could shed light on a little-known procedure that allows the prince and the Queen “to fiddle around with bills to make sure they don’t affect their private interests”.

“People will start thinking, what the hell is going on?” he said. “We are in the 21st century, not the 18th century and it is crazy to think they are even trying to do this. The royal family should give up this special privilege and we should all obey the law of the land. Just because they have private estates, private incomes and land from several centuries ago doesn’t mean they should have the right to interfere.”

The latest crack in the edifice of secrecy around Charles’s influence on public life came after a legal scholar, John Kirkhope, asked for Whitehall’s internal manuals on consulting the royals…”As a citizen of this country I have a proper interest in ensuring the process by which laws are made should be transparent and that those who are given special privileges should be accountable. That is demonstrably not the case with regard to the Duchy of Cornwall.”

RTFA for chilling examples of Prince Charles interfering with local planning and construction permissions which didn’t meet his aesthetic requirements. Which – in one instance – resulted in the architect being fired and the whole project redrawn to the Prince’s specification.

Most Americans look at retention of the monarchy in the UK as an exercise in a nationalized Royal Disneyland. As a fiscal conservative I think the expenditure is absurd and criminal. But, it’s your boat, folks. If you want to pay off someone for the privilege of rowing it yourselves – please continue to do so.

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