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News – Act of Settlement

May 2008

Act of Settlement

 

A report in the Daily Telegraph suggests that the Government may look at abolishing the 307-year-old Act of Settlement because it is ‘antiquated’ and discriminates against a section of society. Under the 1701 Act, Roman Catholics are prevented from marrying into the Royal Family or becoming king or queen.

      Jim Devine, one of 13 Scottish Labour MPs who are Catholics, raised the Act of Settlement during a Commons debate on proposed constitutional reforms, calling it ‘legalised sectarianism that has no role in the 21st century’.

      Justice Secretary Jack Straw replied: ‘Because of the position Her Majesty occupies as head of the Anglican Church, it is rather more complicated than maybe anticipated. But we are certainly ready to consider this. I fully understand that to my honourable friend and many on both sides of the House, it is seen as something which is antiquated’.

      One of the main stumbling blocks to repealing the Act is that it could result one day in a Catholic becoming head of the Anglican Church.

 

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