Scottish independence: Doubts over Queen’s future

Her Majesty The Queen visiting the Forth Road Bridge to mark its 50th anniversary. Pic: Phil Wilkinson

Her Majesty The Queen visiting the Forth Road Bridge to mark its 50th anniversary. Pic: Phil Wilkinson

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THE Queen might have escaped the break-up of her kingdom, but the future of the monarchy is likely to be a focus for debate in the wake of the Scottish independence referendum, it has been predicted.

Stephen Haseler, director of the Global Policy Institute in London, said constitutional discussions would be a “chance to start again” and raised the issue of what would happen with the royal family in years to come.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for a constitutional convention after the referendum to look again at the way the nations of the UK are governed, while Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said the next few years will see a “rewiring” of the British constitution, with power being passed from Westminster to the nations and regions.

Professor Haseler said: “If you have a rethink about our basic constitutional arrangements, the question is, sure, we would keep the Queen while she’s here, but what are we going to do afterwards?

“If you’re going to have a written constitution, what are we going to do about the heirs and successors issue?”

He added: “It’s a chance to start again. This whole debate is a chance to start again. The Queen and the monarchy are deeply involved in this.”

As head of state, the Queen remains publicly neutral when it comes to political matters. But on Sunday after attending morning church at Crathie Kirk, she reportedly told a well-wisher in the crowd: “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.”

Anti-monarchy group Republic has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the actions of the Queen and her advisers, saying they would be writing to the Commons political and constitutional reform committee as well as the Justice Secretary.

Republic’s chief executive Graham Smith said: “The monarchy and the Queen have been around long enough to know what they’re doing. Comments made by the Queen last weekend and widely reported in the press as pro-Union were a deliberate attempt to influence the vote.

“We’re calling on MPs to investigate the role of the Queen in this referendum campaign and the convention of royal impartiality.

“Of course, the Queen is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t - but the bottom line is that the rules are there and the Queen can’t pick and choose when to follow them.”

Mr Smith said: “Republic takes no position on whether Scotland should be independent, but it’s unacceptable for the Queen to be interfering in this way while still asserting her neutrality.”

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