Royal Succession: UK Third Reading

The bill has passed the House of Lords without amendment! It will likely receive Royal Assent at next week’s prorogation ceremony by the Lords Commissioners. Lord Cormack put down an amendment at third reading for the Succession to the Crown Bill to explicitly state that Catholics cannot accede to the Throne which was withdrawn; Labour’s spokesman Lord Stevenson of Balcamara suggested the issue of the monarch and the Church of England has only been deferred, not decided. Lord James of Blackheath put down an amendment that… erm, I’m still not sure. Lord James of Blackheath explained it at length, but it’s not something I want to parse at this hour. It was also withdrawn. I’ll write up my analysis of the strands involved soon, but university work currently takes precedence so it might be a while.

In total, the House of Lords spent 663 minutes in public discussing the matters relating to the bill; that’s just over eleven hours. The British House of Commons spent 583 minutes, or nine and a half hours. Canada, the only other Realm to so far consider the laws, spent over 200 minutes in the Senate discussing the bill and perhaps a minute in the Canadian House of Commons. Queensland’s bill will soon progress, as will enabling legislation in the other Australian states and a full bill in the Commonwealth parliament. New Zealand can also expect progress on the bill soon.

We also learnt in the debate that Antigua and Barbuda has also decided that the way its constitution is worded means it doesn’t have to pass legislation. It’s pretty clear now that none of the smaller Realms will have to pass legislation; their constitutions are all worded extremely similarly thanks to their common British origin. In one way it’s a shame; I would have liked to explore how such small parliaments actually function. Perhaps another time.

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