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Has Lord Prescott Broken His Privy Councillor’s Oath?

Lord Prescott has spoken out today about his thoughts on Her Majesty The Queen’s advancing age and how she should consider abdication.

Shortly after that, Lord Prescott, former deputy Labour leader, received a barrage of criticism for his lack of faith in Her Majesty’s judgement and also, by noted historian and constitutionalist MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, for potentially breaking his Privy Councillor’s oath.

The Privy Council is a committee of politicians and leaders who work advising Her Majesty on matters of state and can, with Her Majesty, pass what are known as ‘orders in council’ which are forms of legislation that don’t need parliament’s consent and are passed by The Queen’s will and consent only.

The oath, which has remained the same since 1250, reads:

[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]You do swear by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto The Queen’s Majesty as one of Her Majesty’s Privy Council. You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done or spoken against Her Majesty’s Person, Honour, Crown or Dignity Royal, but you will lett and withstand the same to the uttermost of your power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. You will in all things to be moved, treated and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion, according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors you will not reveal it unto him but will keep the same until such time as, by the consent of Her Majesty or of the Council, Publication shall be made thereof. You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance to the Queen’s Majesty; and will assist and defend all civil and temporal Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences, and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty and annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States, or Potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty so help you God.[/box]

So have John, Lord Prescott’s comments breached the oath? Well, technically, it seems so. For example, one part of the oath read, “You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance to the Queen’s Majesty”. Essentially Lord Prescott has cast doubt over the Sovereign’s fitness to reign.

Since retiring from being a member of the House of Commons a few years ago, he was made a Baron of Parliament, as Baron Prescott, of Kingston upon Hull in the County of East Yorkshire.

As a peer of the realm, he further swears another oath to Her Majesty.

photo credit: ARCHIVED Department of Energy and Climate Change via photopin cc

Tell us what you think about Lord Prescott’s thoughts that The Queen should abdicate in the comments box below.

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