IAN Paisley MP yesterday tabled an amendment to a Bill in Parliament in an attempt to maintain that any future monarch be a Protestant and a member of the Church of England.
The Succession of the Crown Bill, which is being fast-tracked through the Commons, will end the practice of men automatically inheriting the crown ahead of women and, if passed, would mean that if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a daughter she will become Queen.
The Bill will also overturn the ban on heirs to the throne marrying Roman Catholics.
Since the Act of Settlement in 1701 it has been illegal for a Catholic to inherit the throne or marry a Catholic.
Mr Paisley said his amendment would underscore this rule: “It is only common sense that prevailed when adding such an amendment to this Bill. When the future monarch comes to the throne, they automatically take on the mantle of head of the Church of England, so therefore it is paramount they are brought up in this religion.”
However, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP also introduced an amendment which would allow Catholics to inherit the throne provided the role of head of the Church of England was transferred to a regent.
The Conservative MP for North East Somerset said that, “if the laws are being amended it is offensive to exclude the children of Catholics from the throne, when the Catholic Church requires a party to a marriage with a non-Catholic to use his or her best efforts to bring that child up as a Catholic. I think a law to say that a Catholic cannot follow the teachings of his own church is monstrous”.
In the debate in the House of Commons, SDLP MP Mark Durkan — who suppported allowing a woman to inherit the throne — described the discrimination against Catholics in the proposed Bill as “offensive” and added: “If we were commenting on other regimes, on other countries, on other states, if they were putting in such intense and offensive religious language, we would be calling for all sorts of UN interventions.”