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Labour peer speaks out in defence of Prince Charles and the ‘Spider Memos’

A Labour peer has spoken for the first time about the letters he received from The Prince of Wales during his time in Government. Lord Prescott has defended Prince Charles’s right to “write as many damn letters as he likes” whilst also adding he cannot see a problem with the heir to the throne writing to government ministers.

Lord Prescott has released his own set of letters from The Prince of Wales.

Lord Prescott has released his own set of letters from The Prince of Wales.

In a newspaper column, John Prescott revealed that during his time as Deputy Prime Minister responsible for transport and the environment, he regularly received letters from Prince Charles and “didn’t mind receiving them”. Lord Prescott also added that “Charles has a lot to offer this country” and the letters that are due to be released for public scrutiny “show he has nothing to hide and he shouldn’t be worried about publication.”

Just last month did the Supreme Court rule that letters sent by The Prince of Wales to government ministers could be published. Between 1st September 2004 and 1st April 2005, Charles wrote 30 letters to seven government departments and an astonishing 27 of these letters are currently being prepared for publication.

British newspaper the Guardian has pursued the release of the ‘Black Spider Memos’ under the Freedom of Information Act and in 2012 the then attorney general, Dominic Grieve, argued that the correspondence contained Charles’s “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” and insisted that allowing these letters to become public property might undermine Charles’s “position of political neutrality” which may be irrecoverable when he eventually ascends the throne.

Lord Prescott is a British politician who served as deputy leader of the Labour Party from 1994-2007 as well as Deputy Prime Minister under Tony Blair from 1997-2007. When Tony Blair announced his intention to step down from office in 2007, so too did Mr Prescott and the two politicians left Downing Street together on June 27th 2007. John Prescott was made a Life Peer on 28th May 2010 and was introduced in the House of Lords on 8th July as Baron Prescott of Kingston upon Hull.

The letters that have been released by Lord Prescott are separate to the 27 that were ruled to be released by the Supreme Court and although Prescott has said he is “not a raving loyalist” he did mention that he had “a lot of time for Charles”. He also added, “Charles has a lot to offer this country. And if he wants to serve his subjects by helping young people in to work, combating climate change and building sustainable communities, he can write as many damn letters as he likes.”

Following the judgement from the Supreme Court, Clarence House insisted that the issue “was a matter for the government” though they were “disappointed the principal of privacy had not been upheld.” Prime Minister David Cameron also expressed his personal disappointment at the ruling.

In the ‘Black Spider Memos’, Prince Charles is accused of bombarding government ministers because of his own views on government policies.

Lord Prescott’s first correspondence from The Prince of Wales comes from 1999 when Charles invited the Labour politician to a meeting of Regional Development Agency Leaders.

photo credit: Andrew Skudder
Featured Photo Credit: European Parliament

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