Labour activists plotting to use Lords reform to slyly scrap monarchy

Keir Starmer introduces National Anthem at Labour conference

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A group of Labour activists are plotting to use plans for House of Lords reform to go further and abolish the monarchy. Last week, a leaked report, seen by the Guardian, revealed that the Labour Party is considering abolishing the House of Lords. The constitutional review, by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, reportedly recommends replacing the Lords with an upper house of nations and regions and handing sweeping new powers to local regions and devolved nations.

But speaking at an event on the fringes of the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Labour activist Paul Richards questioned: “Why stop at the Lords?”

The event, run by Labour for a Republic, saw Mr Richards question why the abolition of the monarchy is seen as a “taboo subject”.

He said: “Of course we should discuss it.

“Gordon Brown I noticed this week has leaked his paper, the detail of reforms going all the way to the house of lords.

“Why do we stop there?

“Why do we think of the monarchy as something separate to state?

“It’s ingrained absolutely into the governance of Britain.

“It’s an essential part of our constitution, so why are we so scared?”

He continued: “Why is it naughty to talk about it? Why do we feel it’s a taboo subject?”

“I wrote a rather modest set of proposals back in 1996 … We then enacted a series of really quite fundamental reforms, including getting rid of the bulk of the hereditaries without so much as a murmur.

“It is a nonsense, so why stop at the Lords? Why not talk about the reforms?”

This comes just two weeks after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, while the Royal Family is still in its official mourning period, coming to an end tomorrow at 8am.

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Dismissing the notion that now would be the wrong time to discuss abolishing the monarchy, Mr Richards said: “There’s never a good time, and I think every time is a good time.”

The Labour for a Republic event saw Mr Richards slam Prince Charles for “constant interference” in politics.

Meanwhile, fellow Labour campaigner and journalist Polly Toynbee described his exemption from inheritance tax as “utterly preposterous”.

But in a first for the Labour party, the conference this year opened with delegates singing the national anthem.

This came after party members held a minutes’ silence in tribute to the late Queen.

Sir Keir told party members it “still feels impossible to imagine a Britain without her”.

He said: “For us, the late Queen has always been simply the Queen, the only Queen.

“Above all else, our Queen. And I am proud to lead our party’s tribute to her today.”

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