Rome has intensified her crusade to destroy the Williamite Protestant Revolution Settlement, which is the Constitution of the United Kingdom. A Bill, sponsored in Parliament, has succeeded in getting this matter onto the Parliamentary agenda during this session. The Queen, on a first since the Reformation, has had the Roman Catholic Cardinal of England to stay with her at Sandringham, and to preach at the Royal service in the Church of England yesterday, 13th January. We are delighted that Dr. Clive Gillis, the outstanding Protestant historian, is writing a series of articles on the historical background of this whole conspiracy to destroy our Protestant heritage. These, which are in the process of publication will be carried on the website, the first one commencing today. We will also keep our readers informed as to what is happening in Parliament as matters proceed. — Dr. Ian Paisley
A Commons Bill to allow Roman Catholics to succeed to the crown is expected to receive its second reading on 11 January.
The Bill was brought under the ten minute rule at the very end of the parliamentary session (19 December) for three purposes:
- to make it legal to advocate the abolition of the monarchy.
- to amend the Act of Settlement to provide that persons in communion with the Roman Catholic Church are able to succeed to the Crown
- to amend the law relating to the parliamentary oath.
It was proposed by Mr. Kevin McNamara (Hull North, Labour) and opposed by the Rev Ian Paisley (North Antrim, DUP). Voting was 170 for; 32 against. Those voting with Dr Paisley included Roman Catholics such as the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe.
We understand that it is rare for a Bill of this kind to receive a second reading but this one is expected to come up again on 11 January.
Mr McNamara claimed that his Bill would strike at discrimination and intolerance in our society, and went on to speak of modernisation and human rights. He complained that the Treason and Felony Act 1848 had prevented the Guardian from publishing a series of articles last year advocating a republican Government. His amendment would make this possible.
Secondly, the Bill would amend those parts of the Act of Settlement 1701 dealing with succession to the throne in order to remove discrimination against Roman Catholics. He said that the Prime Minister, "shares my belief that the anti-Catholic aspects of the Act of Settlement are plainly discriminatory".
Finally, he turned to the Oaths Act 1978. His Bill would, "remove the requirement that an elected Member of Parliament take the present Oath of loyalty to the monarch and would provide an alternative – a modern oath of affirmation". He quoted a recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights which he considered to be very favourable to his Bill. He referred to the "indignity and absurdity" that he considered characterised the taking of the Oath.
The Rev Ian Paisley
The Rev Ian Paisley (North Antrim) spoke opposing the motion. He said, "Surely if we are going to review – and change – the constitution of this United Kingdom, that deserves more than a ten-minute Bill, because such a Bill has neither the time nor the capacity to deal with such issues.
"I want to take up some immediate questions. The hon Gentleman laid great emphasis on Europe, and on how Europe feels, and said that those in Europe look upon our constitution as bigoted and discriminatory. However, article 16 of the constitution of Spain underscores the special relationship of Spain with the Roman Catholic Church, and says that the only successors who may enter into the monarchic relationship in Spain must be successors of His Majesty Don Carlos. That house is of course a strictly Roman Catholic house, and those successors are strictly Roman Catholic.
"In Belgium, which is also a Roman Catholic country, the king himself – not the law but the king – can decide who his successor should marry, and if the successor marries without the king’s consent he cannot be king. The written constitution says that the rightful succession is through the descent of the Roman Catholic Saxe-Coburg dynasty.
"In Sweden, which is also a member of the European Union, the king must always profess the pure Evangelical Lutheran faith as adopted and explained in the unaltered Constitution of Augsburg. According to the resolution of the Uppsala meeting in the year 1593, princes and princesses of the royal house must be brought up in the same faith and within the realm. Any member of the royal family not professing that faith will be excluded from all rights of succession.
"Let us look at Denmark, which is also a member of the European Union. Part 2 of its constitution states that the king shall be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and according to section 4 of the constitution, the Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the established Church of Denmark.
"If one looks to the Netherlands, one finds in article 24 of the constitution that the succession to the throne is hereditary and limited to the legitimate descendants of King William I – not King William III, but King William I, Prince of Orange: a Protestant succession indeed.
"So two Roman Catholic countries in the European Union say that they should have a Roman Catholic monarch, and the other countries that I have mentioned say that they should have a Protestant monarch.
"The emphasis of the Bill of Rights of 1688 was not on religion, but on the security of this nation, and the Act is based on that security. Under the reigns of Bloody Mary and King James, this nation has learned that it was not safe. That was the basis on which that Bill was drafted, and the Williamite revolution settlement is the basis for our constitutional position.
"The Williamite revolution settlement has served this nation well in the past, and to say now that our hands should be put to the job of dismantling that settlement is strange, for we do not know what people want to put in its place. What will be put in the place of the Williamite revolution settlement?
"I do not hear any agitation among nonconformists about the fact that the Queen is the supreme governor, or head, of the Church of England. They do not say that that is a terrible thing and that they are slighted because the monarch cannot be a nonconformist. I do not hear that at all, and I tell the House that we should not put our hands to destroying something that has served this country well, and replace it with something that is the subject of debate in a courthouse in Europe.
"Those in Europe seem to be saying, "Don’t do as we do, do what we say you should do". Let them deal with those matters before they lecture the House and the United Kingdom and tell us that we are discriminatory and bigoted. That is a matter that they have to face up to, and they should do so realistically. The House would be well advised to say, "No. We cannot put our hands to such a proposal at the present time". However, if the Government are interested in this matter, as they have stated, it is their responsibility to propose such a Bill and to give proper time for its debate, argument and consideration".