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Act of Settlement

Volume 521: debated on Tuesday 18 January 2011

I am no monarchist, but does the hon. Gentleman agree with me that, if we must have a monarchy, women should have equality with men in succession?

Ministers have already accepted that the provision in the Act of Settlement might well be discriminatory, and I have already confirmed at the Dispatch Box when responding to a previous debate, not that we are doing nothing, but that discussions are under way with other countries of which Her Majesty is Queen. She is not just our Queen, but Queen of 15 other realms, and those matters have to be taken forward together in a careful and considered way. It is not as straightforward as the hon. Gentleman would like to pretend it is.

I welcome that response. As the Minister knows, my ten-minute rule Bill on that subject is to be introduced at 3.30 pm today. Will he confirm whether I could perhaps have that response in writing before the Bill is introduced?

I look forward to the right hon. Gentleman’s speech introducing his Bill. Discussions are under way, as has been confirmed in this House and in the other place. He knows that the Statute of Westminster states that those matters must be amended in all the other realms of which Her Majesty is Queen, and it takes only a moment’s thought to see that that is not as straightforward a process as some who would wish to move more quickly might think.