The Act of Settlement 1701 sets out the current arrangements surrounding Catholics and Royal succession
Jo Swinson has called on Ministers to abolish discrimination against Catholics in the monarchy.
Jo raised the issue in the House of Commons today, after recent news that Autumn Kelly, fiancé to Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips, has converted to the Church of England to avoid jeopardising his place in the royal succession.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Jo asked equalities Minister Barbara Follett:
“Next weekend, Peter Phillips is due to marry Autumn Kelly; she has had to convert to the Church of England to preserve his place in succession to the throne.
“I am sure that the whole House will want to wish the happy couple well on their big day, but would it not be better to send them a wedding present by using the Equality Bill to abolish that institutional discrimination against Catholics?”
Commenting later, she said:
“My best wishes go to the happy couple for their upcoming wedding, but for any Royal in line for the throne to be forbidden even to marry a Catholic simply seems like a practice from a bygone age.
“This rule dates back to the Act of Settlement in 1701. In the 21st Century, we should be taking an objective look at this type of legislation and, where discrimination exists, seeking to repeal it.
“The Government has repeatedly pushed back the publication of its Equality Bill, which will provide a means to tackle just this kind of discrimination. This case highlights the pressing need to publish the Bill with no further delays.”