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State & Ceremonial

New law calling for women to inherit hereditary titles passes first stage in Parliament

A bill calling for the law to be changed so that women can inherit titles and hereditary peerages has passed its first stage in the House of Commons.

Conservative MP Philip Davies introduced a Ten Minute Rule motion in the Commons on Tuesday which called on the law to change so that hereditary titles aren’t exclusively passed down to men.

The bill, entitled the Hereditary Titles (Female Succession) bill, would make it possible for women to succeed to hereditary titles.

The UK currently has a system of male primogeniture which applies to titles. This means male heirs are given priority over female heirs, regardless of their age or relation to the title holder.

Just before the birth of Prince George, male primogeniture was changed to absolute primogeniture. This was to enable that if the Duke and Duchess gave birth to a daughter, she would become Queen instead of a younger brother.

However, these changed only applied to the Succession of the Crown, not hereditary titles.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Philip Davies MP said: “We should extend the Succession to the Crown Act meaning daughters would be treated the same as sons for the purposes of succession.
“It seems to be to be a very natural step to take after amending the same principle for the royal family.

“This is something that both should be and could be amended.”

There have been attempts to introduce this bill in the past; however, on previous occasions, it never made it past the committee stage in Parliament.

The bill has cross-party support from MPs including Harriet Harman, Sir Christopher Chope and Esther McVey.