Queen going to Cabinet meeting ‘is daft idea’

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The Queen’s attendance at Cabinet today has been branded “daft” and “inappropriate” by a leading academic.

Rodney Barker, emeritus professor of government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, suggested the move would blur the boundaries between government and the monarchy.

The Queen will be the first monarch since Queen Victoria to attend a Cabinet meeting and will sit between Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague.

She will be presented with a gift to mark her Diamond Jubilee, paid for through contributions by each secretary of state, before observing the weekly briefing.

Although the Queen, as head of the state, performs some ceremonial and formal duties relating to government, including the state opening of parliament, she must remain strictly neutral on political matters.

Prof Barker said he believed today’s move was “inappropriate”, adding: “I think it is daft – it muddies the waters.

“It will mean potentially the Queen will know things she is not supposed to know and hear things she is not supposed to hear.”

He went on: “Cabinet meetings, on the whole, are to confirm what has already been agreed, but there is some sort of discussion. Presumably they are all going to sit there agreeing and nodding their heads.”

Prof Barker said the Queen would not be able to make any contribution as the role of head of state was “totally apolitical”.

He said it was a surprising decision by Buckingham Palace but added that “they must have their reasons”.

Officials said the Queen would leave before the end of the meeting to fulfil other diary commitments.

Downing Street refused to disclose any details about the gift to be presented to her but said all members of the Cabinet had contributed to it equally.