The Constitution Unit


Unit welcomes planned changes to rules of succession

7 December 2011


Constitution Unit welcomes Commons support for the plan to give daughters and sons equal rights to succeed to the throne

The Constitution Unit welcomes the support of the Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee for the proposal to allow any first born child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to succeed to the throne regardless of gender. The proposal was put to the 15 Commonwealth realms which retain the Queen as Head of State by David Cameron and accepted by them at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference on 28 October in Perth, Australia .It would also ensure that heirs who marry Roman Catholics should no longer be thereby made ineligible to succeed to the throne.

Responding to the Report, the Unit's Dr Morris said: 'The Committee has undertaken a thorough analysis of the implications of the proposed changes and, in particular, has drawn attention to the discriminatory prohibitions on Catholic succession which would still remain in place. As the Committee points out, addressing those rules raises issues about the sovereign's relationship with the Church of England - matters which the Committee rightly notes as matters that the House of Commons might wish to consider. The Unit believes such consideration should take place well in advance of the next succession becoming at all likely because, after it occurs, the opportunity will have been missed.'

Dr Morris gave evidence to the Select Committee on 10 November. Among other things, he drew attention to the fact that the proposed changes would leave unaffected the rules which prevent Catholics and others not 'in communion with' the Church of England from succeeding to the throne. He argued that tackling such issues did not necessarily imply disestablishing the Church of England though questions about the nature of the monarch's relationship with that Church would be raised.

Notes to editors