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Labour Leadership contest

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Who will be the next Labour Leader?
Lisa Nandy
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Sir Keir Starmer
80%
 80%  [ 4 ]
Rebecca Long Bailey
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Total Votes : 5

PDR
1340563.  Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:11 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Rebecca Long-Bailey, who is ineligible to be Prime Minister.


Out of interest - why?

PDR

 
suze
1340567.  Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:38 pm Reply with quote

She's a Roman Catholic. There has never been an RC Prime Minister, and you may note that Tony Blair waited until he had left Downing Street to make his less-than-secret switch to Rome "official".

Now to be sure, Boris Johnson was baptised an RC because his mother is one - but he asserts that this is trumped by his C of E confirmation while at Eton. The Pope might struggle a bit with that argument, but the British Establishment seems to be OK with it.

Until 1829 there was an actual statute debarring RCs from the House of Commons. That is no longer the case, but the Roman Catholc Relief Act 1829 holds (ß18) that:

"It shall not be lawful for any person professing the Roman Catholic religion directly or indirectly to advise [his] Majesty ... concerning the appointment to or disposal of any office or preferment in the Church of England."

In other words, an RC may not play any part in choosing who gets to be Archbishop of Canterbury. That may seem reasonable, and hey the Queen doesn't get to choose the Pope - but choosing the AB of C is in the PM's job description. Accordingly, an RC cannot be Prime Minister.

 
barbados
1340569.  Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:50 pm Reply with quote

Didnít the catholic emancipation act introduced when the Duke of Wellington was PM sort that out?

 
suze
1340577.  Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:06 pm Reply with quote

That is the very Act to which I refer above. It removed most restrictions on RCs holding public office, but it stated explicitly that an RC cannot be Lord Chancellor, and implicitly - for the reasons I state - that an RC cannot be Prime Minister.

Rather later, there was specific legislation (Lord Chancellor (Tenure of Office and Discharge of Ecclesiastical Functions) Act 1974) which removed the bar on an RC as Lord Chancellor. A few dozen C of E positions are in the gift of the Lord Chancellor, and the 1974 Act provides that if the Lord Chancellor is an RC then this part of his role shall pass to the Prime Minister.

There's no reason in theory why Parliament couldn't pass a comparable Act providing for someone else to appoint the AB of C while there is an RC Prime Minister. But why would one party introduce such a provision if it were the other party which stood to benefit? It could be done as a Private Member's Bill, but what if Sir Christopher Chope Objected?

 
dr.bob
1340607.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:09 am Reply with quote

ABs of C aren't appointed very often. Couldn't the Labour party introduce an act such as the one you propose after they've been elected? Provided Justin Welby stays in post for a few months after the election, they should have enough time to sort things out before the PM is ever called upon to perform this particular duty.

In fact they could probably make a big thing about how this is an outmoded racist* law left over from an unenlightened age that needs sorting out, thereby making it essentially impossible for anyone to object to the change**.


*If RCs count as a separate race but, even if they're not, facts haven't gotten in the way of many political debates recently.

**To be fair, a lot of racist policies seem to have done well with the British electorate of late, though these tend to be ones that vilify foreigners, not RCs.

 
dr.bob
1340608.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:11 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
That is a very bold claim.


Not really. Given that I work for a Scottish university, I think I would've noticed if it had been forced to make drastic cut backs.

Likewise, if drastic cut backs had been made, I'm sure you'll be able to find some evidence of them and share such evidence with the rest of us.

 
PDR
1340610.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:00 am Reply with quote

Are PMs a specific exemption to the provisions of the Equality Act? Unless they are I would put it to you (m'lud) that any such prohibition would be "revoked by implication" by the Equality Act, whic defines "Religion and religious belief" as a protected characteristic in respect of which it is illegal to discriminate without a justifiable business reason.

I'm not psychic and so can't be certain what the courts would decide, but I strongly suspect "because we hate catholics" (or similar argument) would not be regarded as a justifiable business reason.

PDR

 
dr.bob
1340611.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:24 am Reply with quote

Does anything involved with appointing the AB of C count as a "business" reason? I mean, the CofE certainly has a wide portfolio of business interests, but I don't know if the appointing of members to its high offices necessarily counts. Unless they count as the board of director or something.

Putting that aside as a needless digression, I'd've thought requiring the person who appoints the head of the CofE to not be a member of a "rival" religion might be legally arguable as not being simple discrimination. Likewise it should be acceptable for the Chief Rabbi to not be appointed by a Buddhist.

Though I'm clearly not a lawyer, so I would advise the government to seek more learned advice before making any rash decisions :)

 
PDR
1340612.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:40 am Reply with quote

Maybe they could employ the Duchess of Sussex as a consultant, as she was a lawyer...

PDR

 
barbados
1340613.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:43 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
barbados wrote:
That is a very bold claim.


Not really. Given that I work for a Scottish university, I think I would've noticed if it had been forced to make drastic cut backs.

Likewise, if drastic cut backs had been made, I'm sure you'll be able to find some evidence of them and share such evidence with the rest of us.

Do we know how the funding has compared to equivalent RUK universities?
Although specific cutbacks were not the reason for the suggestion, more that there is a finite amount of money made available to Holyrood and the funding that is require for home and EU outside of RUK has to come from somewhere, so while Universities may not be directly affected, someone somewhere will have had a reduced budget.

 
cnb
1340615.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:58 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
In other words, an RC may not play any part in choosing who gets to be Archbishop of Canterbury. That may seem reasonable, and hey the Queen doesn't get to choose the Pope - but choosing the AB of C is in the PM's job description. Accordingly, an RC cannot be Prime Minister.


There is no constitutional or statutory requirement that The Queen be advised on ecclesiastical appointments by the Prime Minister. She is advised by her ministers, and it's just convention that the most senior minister generally does it. If a RC becomes PM, the simplest solution would be for her to ask the non-Catholic ministers to decide amongst themselves which of them will take on that responsibility.

 
crissdee
1340619.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:59 am Reply with quote

Maybe I'm missing something, but why can't the religious body concerned choose their own leader without reference to Parliament? At the risk of offending anyone who actively follows a religion, and I apologise if I do, Christians (of whatever sect) Muslims, Jews, Hindus, or whatever, are essentially private organisations. Who they have as leader is surely their own concern.

 
PDR
1340620.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:04 am Reply with quote

It's because officially the CofE is still Established (capital 'E') as the UK religion. That's also the same reason why bishops sit in the house of lords.

The best and simplest solution would be Disestablishment, but that would incur a flood of ire from Hurrumoh of Tunbridge Wells et al

PDR

 
dr.bob
1340626.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 10:58 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Do we know how the funding has compared to equivalent RUK universities?


I've no idea offhand, but feel free to look into it if you're interested.

barbados wrote:
so while Universities may not be directly affected, someone somewhere will have had a reduced budget.


That's arguably true, but it's not the argument I'm currently having. PWUM stated that scrapping tuition fees would result in a situation where "Universites will have to make drastic cut backs." I was merely pointing out that this was not the case when tuition fees were scrapped in Scotland.

 
suze
1340629.  Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:33 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
The best and simplest solution would be Disestablishment, but that would incur a flood of ire from Hurrumoh of Tunbridge Wells et al


I'm not sure that it actually would. When Rowan Williams was AB of C he let it be known that he wouldn't object in the slightest to being Disestablished, and it is occasionally hinted that the Blair government was rather keen to do it.

The sticking point, though, seems to have been the Supreme Governor. Such matters are never made public, but Private Eye and The Guardian both believe that Mr Blair asked the Queen how she would feel about the matter and was told "One thinks not". If that is true, then only a PM with a death wish would pursue the matter any further and it's off the agenda unless and until the Sovereign Immortality Hypothesis is disproved.


cnb wrote:
There is no constitutional or statutory requirement that The Queen be advised on ecclesiastical appointments by the Prime Minister.


I have heard this argument before, but doesn't Tony Blair tend to suggest that the Inner Circle think otherwise? If there were no constitutional issue with the PM being an RC, then Mr Blair would have become one several years earlier than he officially did. It was no great secret that his sympathies lay with Rome, and he'd even taken Communion at RC Mass a few times before the Archbishop of Westminster said "Ahem, that's only for members".

 

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