British Prime Minister David Cameron has launched a push to change key provisions of the 1701 Act of Settlement that currently restrict the chances of female members of the Royal Family inheriting the throne and bar Catholics from the line of succession.
The issue, to be discussed at a Commonwealth leaders summit later this month, has come to a head after Cameron sent letters to his Commonwealth counterparts seeking support for the changes.
The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has expressed support for “these reasonable modernizations”.
Any changes to eliminate the discriminatory provisions would require agreement from all Commonwealth nations.
Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI, because she had no brother.
In his letter to Harper and the other Commonwealth leaders, Cameron stated: “We espouse gender equality in all other aspects of life, and it is an anomaly that in the rules relating to the highest public office we continue to enshrine male superiority.”
His comments followed the launch of a campaign by a group of British MPs to “modernize” the Act of Settlement to give both women and Catholics equal status to men and non-Catholics in the line of succession.
British Labor MP Keith Vaz, backed by a number of other MPs, had introduced a resolution in the U.K. Parliament to amend the 1701 act by scrapping provisions that prevent Catholics from becoming king or queen, bar anyone who marries a Catholic from the line of succession and give men priority in the line of succession.
The 2008 wedding of the Queen’s eldest grandson, Peter Phillips, and his Canadian bride, Autumn Kelly — a Catholic-born Montrealer — also ignited debate around the rules of succession. Before their marriage, the Canadian woman gave up her Catholic faith and converted to the Church of England to preserve her future husband’s position as 11th in the line of succession.
Vaz had urged the renewal of a 2008 all-party agreement to amend the law, and in January called on Cameron “to legislate an end to these outdated, sexist and anti-Catholic aspects of the constitution.”
Source: The Gazette
News category: World.