Extracts form the GUARDIAN newspaper report under the title:
SECRET ROYAL VETO POWERS OVER NEW LAWS TO BE EXPOSED
By Robert Booth
www.guardian.co.uk ,Friday 31 August 2012
“A judgment issued last week by the deputy information commissioner, Graham Smith means the Cabinet Office has until 25 September to release the confidential internal manual. It details how the consent of “The Crown and The Duchy of Cornwall” is obtained before bills are passed into law and what criteria ministers apply before asking the royals to amend draft laws. If it fails to do so it could face high court action”.
“In Charles’s case, the little-known power stems from his role as the head of the £700m Duchy of Cornwall estate that provides his £17m-a-year private income”.
“The Cabinet Office said it was still deciding whether to challenge the ruling at the information tribunal”.
“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. He said “it was clearly in the public interest that citizens understand how laws are made and applied as well as the circumstances in which the Duchy of Cornwall is consulted”.
“Kirkhope was researching a university thesis about the legal status of the Duchy and wanted to know how ministers decided whether new laws affected the “hereditary revenues, personal property of the Duke [Charles] or other interests”.
“The Duchy of Cornwall interests often overlap with Charles’s own in areas such as town planning where past interventions in public debate have seen the prince accused of abusing his influence to distort the democratic process.
Kirkhope said evidence he had gathered suggested the process of seeking royal consent for draft bills was not a mere formality”.
“The correspondence indicates that the effect of the bills are explained to the royal household, including the Duchy of Cornwall, discussions ensue and if necessary changes are made to proposed legislation,” he said. “Departments of state have fought to avoid releasing correspondence which gives some hint of how the process works and the Cabinet Office has resisted releasing details of the guidance which determines whether the prince as Duke of Cornwall is consulted in the first place”.
“As a citizen of the this country I have 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.”
End of Guardian Quote.
What is the reverse side of the royal coin?
The other side of the royal coin is the Duchy of Cornwall third Charter of 3rd January 1338. (Details on site)
The authority for the royal veto powers over legislation can be attributed to this Charter which gave dictatorial powers to the Duke of Cornwall to use whatever means deemed necessary to procure an income for himself from within Cornwall.
Essentially, this was the result of the refusal by the English population, and their Members of Parliament, to collect and pay taxation themselves for the upkeep of the Heir to the Throne.
In the fourteenth century it was considered commendable for the English national majority to seek to assert racial advantage over the indigenous Cornish speaking national minority.
Clearly, the income was invested outside Cornwall as is still the case and also currently applies to the Duke of Cornwall’s Benevolent Fund.
The present law does not comply with the international principle of equality before the law.
Consequently, it is a long overdue duty of our democratic representatives to bring an end to the abuses exposed in the exercise of direct, and indirect for and on behalf of, royal power, by abolishing the Duchy of Cornwall charters and prevent the untenable claim to a private estate being used euphemistically to keep the unpalatable history of Cornwall a state secret.
© Save Cornwall – 3rd September 2012