The Prince of Wales website lists the following Royal Households, I have cross-referenced this list of the public register of Data Controllers held by the ICO:

(believe it or not there is an order of precedence for the Households, they are listed here in that order)

The Guardian reported that Prince Charles has been offered a veto over 12 government bills since 2005.

By searching TheyWorkForYou (user friendly version of Hansard) I decided to start a list of all bills and measures for which consent was received (search results).

Consent from Prince Charles (in capacity as Duke of Cornwall etc)

  • Abolition of Feudal Tenure etc (Scotland) Bill -15 December 1999 (Scottish Parliament) (source)
  • Charities Bill – 8 November 2005
  • Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions Bill – 14 January 2010
  • Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Bill – 19 November 2001
  • Commons Bill – 18 January 2006
  • Communications Bill – 8 July 2003
  • Company Law Reform Bill – 23 May 2006
  • Companies (Audit, Investigations and Community Enterprise) Bill (14 July 2004)
  • Coroners and Justice Bill – 5 November 2009
  • Countryside and Rights of Way Bill – 23 November 2000
  • Crown Benefices (Parish Representatives) Measure – 13 January 2010
  • Energy Bill – 15 March 2011
  • Finance Bill 2004 – 20 July 2004
  • Gambling Bill – 6 April 2005
  • Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill – 18 November 2003)
  • Housing and Regeneration Bill – 17 July 2008
  • Hunting Bill – 15 November 2004
  • Land Registration Bill – 8 November 2001
  • Licensing Bill – 19 June 2003
  • Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill 29 April 2009
  • Localism Bill – 31 October 2011
  • London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Bill – 14 March 2006
  • Marine and Coastal Access Bill – 8 June 2009
  • Marine Navigation Aids Bill – 21 January 2011
  • Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill – 27 March 2006
  • Planning Bill – 18 November 2008
  • Powers of Entry etc. Bill – 6 April 2010
  • Priests (Ordination of Women) Measure – 29 October 1993
  • Railways and Transport Safety Bill – 3 July 2003
  • Retail Development Bill – 8 July 2008
  • Road Safety Bill – 10 January 2006
  • Sovereign Grant Bill – 3 October 2011
  • Trustee Bill – 29 June 2000
  • Water Bill – 9 July 2003
  • Wreck Removal Convention – (source: Duchy of Cornwall FOI request page, Parliament website)

Earlier cases of Prince’s consent

  • The West of England and South Wales Drainage Company Incorporation Bill 1848 (the earliest known per Kirkhope)

Cases where legislation specifically refers to Duchy of Cornwall but where consent was not required

  • the Duchy of Cornwall Acts passed in 1844 (per Kirkhope, this might suggest that the practice of requiring Prince’s consent was invented after 1843)

Many people are aware that Acts of Parliament require Royal Assent but Queen’s Consent and Prince’s Consent are less well understood. The extracts from Erskine May, 24th edition below show the wide ranging impact of this obscure provision. The obscurity of Parliamentary procedures is partly hidden from the public due to the exorbitant cost of Erskine May – (see Richard Taylor’s Blog Post: Parliament Blown Open by Hackers)

Prince of Wales’s consent

“The Prince’s consent is required for a bill which affects the rights of the
principality of Wales and earldom of Chester, or which makes specific reference to, or special provision for, the Duchy of Cornwall; and the Prince’s consent may (depending on the circumstances) be required for a bill which amends an Act which does any of those things.”

“The need for consent arises from the Sovereign’s reversionary interest in the Duchy of Cornwall. For that reason, if a bill affects the Duchy of Cornwall in the same way as it affects other Crown land, separate Prince’s consent has not been required, the Queen’s consent being sufficient. The Prince’s consent was not required for provisions amending an Act which did not apply to the Duchy, even though those provisions referred expressly to communications with the heir to the Throne. A bill affecting the Duchy of Cornwall in its capacity as harbour authority for the Isles of Scilly has required the Prince’s consent. For the Duchy of Cornwall’s interest in intestacy and bona vacantia…”

Many people are aware that Acts of Parliament require Royal Assent but Queen’s Consent and Prince’s Consent are less well understood. The extracts from Erskine May, 24th edition below show the wide ranging impact of this obscure provision. The obscurity of Parliamentary procedures is partly hidden from the public due to the exorbitant cost of Erskine May – (see Richard Taylor’s Blog Post: Parliament Blown Open by Hackers)

Queen’s Consent

“Bills affecting the prerogative (being powers exercisable by the Sovereign for the performance of constitutional duties) on the one hand, or hereditary revenues, person al property or interests of the Crown , the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duchy of Cornwall on the other, require the signification of Queen’s consent in both Houses before they are passed.”

“When the Prince of Wales is of age, his own consent as Duke of Cornwall is given.”

“The Queen’s consent is expressed in terms to the effect that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the bill, has consented to place her prerogative or interest, or both, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the bill.”

Queen’s consent in respect of her interest

“Consent in respect of the Queen’s interest is required for a bill which affects the hereditary revenues, personal property or personal interests of the Crown or the Duchies of Lancaster or Cornwall. This includes the Royal Household and the Royal Palaces (including the Palace of Westminster), the Crown Estate and the Crown Estate Commissioners, the Queen’s private estates, and the Queen’s interest as a landlord or an employer.”

“Recent provisions requiring such consent have included:
(a) restrictions on the use that might be made of premises on Duchy
land;
(b) the creation of further statutory nuisances arising from land which
might have exposed the Crown to the risk of legal proceedings;
(c) the express application of data protection legislation to personal data
processed by the Royal Household and the Duchy of Lancaster;
(d) the abolition of the office of coroner of the Queen’s household, so that
deaths of members of the royal family were to be investigated under the
same rules as any other deaths;
(e) the application of legislation about construction contracts to contracts entered into on behalf of the Queen in right of the Duchy of Lancaster or on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall;
(f) the designation of rights in gas importation and storage zones in areas outside the territorial sea as rights belonging to Her Majesty.”

Consent is also required for bills which relate to matters such as intestacy and bona vacantia in which the Crown and the Duchies have a historic interest, unless the effect is remote.

Consent is required if the repeal of a protective provision may have an adverse effect on the Queen’s interest, and is required even if the adverse effect resulting from the bill itself needs consent. Consent is required in respect of substantial consequences for the Queen of changes in the general law, but has not been required for insignificant or remote consequences of such changes. Where consent has already been given in respect of a particular change in the law, it has not been required to be given again in respect of further changes which could not have affected the basis on which the original consent was given. In cases where the effect of a bill is doubtful it is the practice to require the Queen’s consent. A bill relating to the civil service which required consent in respect of the prerogative also required consent in respect of the Queen’s interest because it applied to the Crown Estate Commissioners.”

I have recently submitted an e-petition on fixed time limits for internal reviews. I was actually reasonably pleased to see today that more than 15 people had signed because even though I suspect most people would support it if they took the time to find abut the issue but I know that it isn’t exactly an issue that captivates the imagination of the public.

The Government’s E-petitions does however show that the public has a serious appetite for transparency in specific cases:

The public demand for transparency is not just limited to bolting the door after the banker/MP/News of the World journalist has bolted. There are also people calling for transparency from football clubs lobbyists, restaurants, think tanks and travel agents

and that’s before we even get to the public sector (family courts, QUANGOs…)

The challenge that FOI campaigners face is that many of the changes needed to really energise FOI law are fairly technical and generic while the public’s attention is focussed on a few high profile cases. The British public are not wrong to focus on the really really important stuff. It is up to us as FOI campaigners to try explain where the systematic problems with UK FOI law are and why they matter by reference to specific cases that the public care about. We need to highlight the loopholes and abuses using real examples that impact on peoples every day life whether it is what they eat or where they park or their next holiday. If we do this well the UK could one day have the best FOI laws in the world.

“…I am writing to seven of my elected representatives in the European Parliament about the implications of EU procurement law with respect to Fair Trade. I really need your help to fix a problem with EU law.

Recently the UK Government consulted on proposed procurement rules including “At least 50% of tea and coffee is certified to be fairly traded.”[1] The public wanted the Government to go much further than 50%:

“The majority of those who responded on this criterion felt it was not ambitious enough and should be either increased to 100% for tea and coffee or that other products such as bananas and cocoa should be included.”[1]

But EU procurement law stops the UK public sector from going 100% Fair Trade:

“We are keeping this criterion as it stands as there is significant cost. The 50% also allows some flexibility as EU public procurement laws make it impossible to specify fairly traded produce and other methods need to be used.”[1]

EU procurement law is presumably designed to stop discrimination against certain types of suppliers but in this case discrimination in favour of Fair Trade suppliers is exactly what is needed.

I feel very angry about this law and the implications it has for Fair Trade. Please could you each let me know what can be done to get this changed and what you personally will be willing to do to fix this. I know that some MEPs favour leaving the EU but this is unlikely to happen in the short term so I would ask those MPs to try to get EU law changed to allow public bodies in member states to go 100% Fair Trade if they choose to.

[1] http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/73619/response/189076/attach/6/2011%2004%2008%20Summary%20of%20all%20response%20to%20comments%204.pdf

Yours sincerely,
…”

This FOI release reveals a lot of public support for going 100% fair trade on tea and coffee:

“There were no comments that didn’t support inclusion of this criterion 50% fair trade]. The majority of those who responded on this criterion felt it was not ambitious enough and should be either increased to 100% for tea and coffee or that other products such as bananas and cocoa should be included”

But Government can’t go to 100% because:
“The 50% also allows some flexibility as EU public procurement laws make it impossible to specify fairly traded produce and other methods need to be used.”

The whole point of fair trade is excluding non-fair trade suppliers from the buying process. Someone has to get this fixed.

Prime Minister’s Questions is televised and covered by the media and the right to question government ministers about the work of government departments is well known. The Parliament website describes it thus:

“In addition to oral questions, MPs and Peers can ask government ministers questions for written answer. These are often used to obtain detailed information about policies and statistics on the activities of government departments. ” Source: Written answers Parliament website.

The “Department” drop down menu on TheyWorkForYou search page reveals that your MP can ask questions of bodies that are not classed as Government Departments, I list these below with my comments (I have excluded Lord Chancellor and Government Law Officers from this list):

  • Administration Committeesearch – considers the services provided to MPs by the House of Commons.
  • Church Commissioners -search – manages an investment portfolio (mostly in company shares and property) to support the Church of England
  • Duchy of Lancastersearch – one of two Royal Duchies in England, see Wikipedia: Duchy of Lancaster
  • Electoral Commission Committeesearch – a body created under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 to scrutinise the Electoral Commission
  • European Communitysearch – it appears that MPs can ask the Lord Privy Seal questions about the European Community
  • House of Commonssearch – MPs have asked House of Commons about security arrangements, first aid and spam emails under this heading.
  • House of Commons Commissionsearch – the overall supervisory body of the House of Commons Administration in the United Kingdom
  • Leader of the Councilsearch – another name for Leader of the House of Commons, only one question found under this heading.
  • Leader of the Housesearch – MP has asked about the use of hand held devices in the Commons under this heading, another has asked about the time taken to answer written questions
  • Palace of Westminstersearch – no questions under this heading since 1981, when Mr. Garel-Jones asked the Lord President of the Council whether the State opening of Parliament would be televised.
  • President of the Councilsearch – many questions relate to work of Government but some questions relate to Parliamentary scrutiny e.g. in 2002 Mr Graham Allen submitted a question: “To ask the President of the Council if he will list for each Government Bill to be introduced this session the form of pre-legislative scrutiny to which it will be subject.”
  • Privy Councilsearch – The Privy Council essentially, a law making body through which the Queen makes Orders – see also Wikipedia:Privy Council of the United Kingdom. Most of these questions however appear to relate to the Government Department called the Privy Council Office
  • Public Accounts Commissionsearch – the Public Accounts Commission examines the National Audit Office Estimates and considers reports from the appointed auditor of the National Audit Office.
  • Public Accounts Committeesearch – only one question found under this heading and this dates back to 2001. The Committee of Public Accounts examines “accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted to Parliament to meet the public expenditure, …”

“A company is a “publicly-owned company” for the purposes of section 5(1)(b) if one or more public authorities own, whether directly or indirectly, shares or other interests in the company together aggregating more than half of the votes exercisable in general or other meeting of the company on any matter.

The UK could learn from the Isle of Man rather than insisting on every single share without exception being held by a public body.

Isle of Man, draft bill (from consultation document)

I am looking for a good MP to help get the Protection of Freedoms Bill amended. The changes I want made relate to Freedom of Information (FOI). Under the current FOI Act a company owned by one public body is (generally) subject to FOI itself but there is a loophole in that a company jointly owned by two or more public bodies (generally) isn’t. The Protection of Freedoms Bill seeks to close this loophole which is very welcome but there is a chance to close a few more loopholes at the same time and give FOI law a boost. If you are the good MP I refer to please get in touch (@confirmordeny)

changes needed Protection of Freedoms Bill (93)
in summary:

  • the term “wholly owned” is part of the problem as it means one privately owned share in 100 or even in 1,000 can be enough to mean a company is not publicly accountable.
  • change this to include companies where 95% of the voting shares (95% of the members for companies limited by guarantee) are owned by public bodies
  • make sure Scottish Public authorities are included when calculating proportion owned by public sector