Unlikely alliance of 'Papist and Prod' opposes change to UK royal laws
Legal changes that will let British monarchs marry Catholics, but not be of that faith, will leave language that is “arcane and offensive” to Catholics in British law, the House of Commons has been told.
After just two days of debate by MPs, centuries-old laws, including one giving precedence to younger brothers over older sisters in royal successions, will be ended.
SDLP MP Mark Durkan said MPs were being asked “to remove one layer of religious discrimination”, but not the “other layers of religious discrimination that are still” there. He said he had never sworn the Oath of Allegiance to take up his seat but, instead, uses an affirmation: “I use it under protest because I will not swear a lie.”
Concerns that the legislation is being rushed led to unusual coalitions, including Catholic Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and Free Presbyterian DUP MP Ian Paisley jnr.
“What an unlikely coalition of high Papist, tight Prod, pleb. Should we call it the Papal Prod Pleb Alliance?” said the North Antrim MP, who said changes to symbolic rules should be considered carefully.
People believed the removal from Belfast City Hall of the union flag for all bar 18 days would provoke minor disruption, but 70 days of trouble followed “that foolhardy action”, Mr Paisley went on.
Mr Rees-Mogg objected to the legislation as “a Papist”, saying that a Catholic could marry a royal heir, but may then not bring up their children as Catholics if the succession is to be protected.