‘I’m only loyal to a Protestant’

A FORMER DUP adviser has said that he would no longer have allegiance to the Crown if the monarch was a Roman Catholic.

Wallace Thompson, a special adviser to DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds when he was a Stormont minister, said he was concerned at the reforms announced by prime minister David Cameron last week.

Under the plans future monarchs would be allowed to marry a Catholic and first-born female Royals would no longer lose out to younger male heirs in the line of succession.

However, Mr Thompson said that he believed the constitutional change, which will require an amendment to the 1701 Act of Settlement, could be the first step to abolishing entirely that historic law.

Mr Thompson was speaking yesterday as secretary of the Evangelical Protestant Society. He is also chairman of the fundamentalist Protestant lobby group the Caleb Foundation, whose vice chairman is another DUP member, Mervyn Storey.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence programme yesterday, Mr Thompson said: “To me it’s stage one of a process here where further reform and amendments to the Act of Settlement will be demanded — in fact are being demanded.

“My concern then is that when you have the monarch marrying a Roman Catholic, what happens to the children? How are they brought up?”

He said that Royal children could be brought up as Catholics, creating a constitutional crisis if they were in line to be monarch.

“We are in danger of moving towards that full-blown repeal of the Act of Settlement and the overthrowing of the Protestant basis of the monarchy. I think it would be a very serious development for the United Kingdom. My loyalty to the throne is based on the monarchy being Protestant, so from a personal point of view if that were to happen then my loyalty to the monarchy would end.”

He said that the attempts to conceal child abuse indicated that “the Roman Catholic influence in the UK is a negative and still a potently dangerous force”.

But last night Presbyterian moderator the Rev Dr Ivan Patterson said: “While the accession to the throne is not something the general assembly is likely to discuss, I’m sure that in this day and age the vast majority of Presbyterians would agree with the proposed changes.

“As regards the practice of their faith, the gender or religion of the monarch, it would not change Presbyterian’s focus on God and the Bible.”

When asked for the Orange Order’s position on the changes, a spokesman said: “We are waiting to see David Cameron’s proposals in detail and study the implications before making any comments.”