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Friday, 26 September 2008


Many congratulations to Downing Street for their excellent plans to end the 300 year old exclusion of Catholics from the throne.

Although I have condemned the attitude of the Roman Catholic hierarchy to abortion, contraception, embryo research and IVF, I do not believe we should discriminate against anyone for their religious beliefs. I am not anti-Catholic or anti any other religious faith. I am against certain dogmas proclaimed by the Catholic Church where they undermine and attack the lives and aspirations of women.

I also believe that members of the government should maintain collective responsibility for government legislation. This means that if a member of the government cannot vote for government legislation because it goes against their religious beliefs, they should resign.

It's also good to see that Downing Street proposing that the throne will be inherited by the oldest child irrespective of gender.

Of course we will still have a hereditary head of state, but that, I think, is another argument.

I can only agree with Geoffrey Robertson QC quoted in the "Guardian" on 25 September:
"I welcome this as two small steps towards a more rational constitution. The Act of Settlement determined that the crown shall descend only on Protestant heads and that anyone 'who holds communion with the church of Rome or marries a Papist' - not to mention a Muslim, Hindu, Jew or Rastafarian - is excluded by force of law.
"This arcane and archaic legislation enshrined religious intolerance in the bedrock of the British constitution."

At last we are beginning to shed our ancient prejudices. About time too.

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