Anyone in Royal Family that DOESN’T have access??
Figureheads MY ARSE.
The Cabinet Office has confirmed that the Duke of Cambridge, who is second in line to the throne, is ‘occasionally’ given confidential cabinet documents
The row over Prince Charles receiving secret government papers took a remarkable twist last night when it emerged that his son, Prince William, is given access to them too.
The revelation is all the more surprising since William is not even a full time working royal.
Although he is taking on a steadily increasingly amount of duties on behalf of his grandmother, his primary job is a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance Service and before that he was with the RAF Search and Rescue division.
Earlier this week, it emerged following a three-year battle under the Freedom of Information Act that Charles has regularly been given high-level Cabinet memoranda for decades.
Campaigners said the privileged information allowed the prince to ‘meddle’ in official business and lobby ministers in favour of his chosen interests such as agriculture, town planning and complementary medicine.
News that his son was similarly briefed led anti-monarchist group Republic, which led the battle to uncover the extent of Charles’s access to the private government briefing papers, to describe the situation as a ‘free for all’.
They told the BBC: ‘There appears to be no good reason why William is getting this information.
‘It appears to be a free for all. We support Labour’s call for an inquiry, so we can know how much information is being handed to which royals.’
The prince’s office at Kensington Palace deferred inquiries to the Cabinet Office which said in a statement: ‘The Duke of Cambridge is a senior member of the royal family and future heir to the throne and therefore of course it is appropriate that he is regularly briefed on government business.’
The Government has set up an independent commission to look at ways of diluting the FoI act, potentially by making it easier to refuse a request.
The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, has claimed the law hampers the ‘smooth running’ of Government.
Republic applied for publication of what is known as the Cabinet Office’s ‘precedent book’ which shows that the Queen, Charles and senior ministers regularly get papers from cabinet and ministerial committees.
The practice, which dates back to at least the 1930s, covers everything from sensitive draft legislation to the papers of committees scrutinising issues such as constitutional reform, agriculture and items of national security.
Earlier this week, it emerged following a three-year battle under the Freedom of Information Act that Charles has regularly been given high-level Cabinet memoranda for decades
The precedent book adds: ‘The need for secrecy calls for special care in circulating or handling.’
Critics have voiced their fears that this means Charles has more access to top level information about national policy issues than even elected ministers of state. Junior ministers do not receive the documents even if it pertains to their own department.
Paul Flynn, a Labour member of the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee, has said the practice has played into the lobbying prince’s hands.
‘This means he is not only the most influential lobbyist, but the best informed and he is lobbying for his own interests, which are not always benign or sensible,’ he said.
But Michael Ellis, a Tory MP and constitutional expert, said: ‘It is absolutely right that the Duke of Cambridge should prepare for his eventual responsibilities, and to do that he needs the necessary papers in the same way that his ancestors have had for decades.’
Found here. . . . .
The amount of Government paperwork handed over to the Prince of Wales since at least 1992 was revealed for the first time after a three-year battle under the Freedom of Information Act.
A Cabinet Office file, so secret it is locked in a cupboard in a locked office on a secure corridor, was published today and shows Charles receives the same documents as the Queen and only the most senior ministers.
Critics have said the Prince is ‘meddling’ in politics and believe it is ‘plainly wrong’ he can lobby Government on policy before the public knows anything about it.
In the past Charles has said he has no regrets about his contact with Government because he is acting as an ‘advocate’ for his people.
Clarence House refused to comment today but a royal household source told MailOnline the heir to the throne has been sent the same paperwork ‘since the 1930s’ and it ‘was not set up for Charles’.
Michael Ellis, a Tory MP and constitutional expert, said: ‘It is obvious that the heir to the throne needs to have access to certain relevant cabinet papers and other documents so he can prepare for the role of Sovereign in due course.
‘The Prince of Wales has proven himself to be a powerful advocate on the side of the British people and he is one of our most well-informed and expert individuals on a wide range of issues.’
Last night campaigners said the disclosure underlined the importance of the Freedom of Information Act being retained in its current form or even strengthened.
The Government has set up an independent commission to look at ways of diluting the FoI Act, potentially by making it easier to refuse a request. The Cabinet Secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, who is dubbed Sir Cover-Up, has claimed the law hampers the smooth running of government.
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said: ‘The long struggle waged by Republic to uncover the fact that privileged government information was made available to Prince Charles and the fact that it was ultimately successful illustrates that the Freedom of Information regime works.
‘The Conservatives want to water down the Act. Labour would strengthen and extend it’.
Today’s revelations were revealed in the Cabinet Office’s ‘Precedent Book’, drawn up in 1992, which says the documents of the Cabinet and ministerial committees are provided to a ‘standard circulation’ list limited to the Queen, the Prince of Wales and government ministers.
John Major was prime minister in 1992, when the dossier was written, but it is not clear how much paperwork Charles was getting before then.
The book warns that the need for secrecy is so great that ‘special care in circulation and handling’ is required, and Cabinet ministers are handed their copies in person.
Four chapters from the book were released to campaign group Republic after the Cabinet Office failed in a three-year effort to avoid making it public.
Republic has now written to Prime Minister David Cameron demanding that Charles be removed from the circulation list for the papers, which would include details of ministers’ discussions on upcoming legislation normally kept secret for at least 20 years.
Republic’s chief executive Graham Smith said: ‘The disclosure of Cabinet papers to Prince Charles is quite extraordinary and completely unacceptable, not only because they would contain highly classified information but because it gives him considerable advantage in pressing his own agenda when lobbying ministers.’
The group’s letter to Mr Cameron warned that the papers could also include market-sensitive information which could be used to further an individual’s financial interests.
The released chapters say: ‘The documents of the Cabinet and ministerial committees are issued primarily to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and ministers. Cabinet documents are issued to ministers personally … The need for secrecy calls for special care in circulation and handling.’
The document adds: ‘The standard circulation for cabinet memoranda includes the Queen, the Prince of Wales, all members of the cabinet, any other ministers in charge of departments, the attorney general and the chief whip. A few other senior ministers may receive copies at the Prime Minister’s discretion … Ministers of state and junior ministers do not normally receive memoranda.’
It means Charles has more access to top-level information about his pet topics, such as organic agriculture, complementary medicine and town planning, than elected ministers of state with responsibilities in those areas.
The letters released in May are called the ‘Black Spider’ memos because of Charles’ handwriting scrawled in black pen – some sent to the prime minister of the day (above)
The Cabinet Office had fought to block release of the document to preserve the confidentiality of communications between government and the royal household on sensitive matters but a judge ruled for Republic.
Newport MP Paul Flynn said Charles’s access to cabinet papers deserves a Parliamentary investigation.
The Labour politician said it would make Charles Britain’s ‘best informed lobbyist’, adding: ‘He is not just a figurehead, he has become a participant in national debate and there is no control over his lobbying.
‘This means that he is not only the most influential lobbyist, but the best informed and he is lobbying for his own interests, which are not always benign or sensible.’
But senior royal sources pointed out that the practice of the heir to the throne seeing Cabinet papers stretched back to the early 20th century. One said: ‘The practice… started with Edward VII who put the practice in place with the Cabinet Office for the then Duke of York, who became George V.
‘All heirs to the throne since then have received Cabinet briefings in order to prepare them for their role as head of state.
‘This has been known about for a very long time and is not in any way revelatory.’
View Video here…
In its letter to Mr Cameron, Republic said: ‘The fact that … Charles has privileged access to Cabinet papers is a further cause for concern as it means he is able to lobby ministers in secret at every stage of policy development process.
‘It is plainly wrong that Charles can lobby on new policy proposals even before the public are aware of the existence of such proposals.’
Mr Smith said the group was not raising similar concerns over the Queen’s access to the documents because of her position as head of state.
He said the Prince of Wales’s inclusion on the circulation list effectively made Charles ‘a minister not attending Cabinet’.
Mr Smith said: ‘He gets the paperwork and has private meetings with ministers about policy.
‘Charles has no legitimate need to see Cabinet papers at all. His political and private interests and the high degree of secrecy surrounding his lobbying mean there is a real danger this information can be abused without any possibility of accountability.’
Clarence House referred enquiries to the Cabinet Office.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: ‘It has been established practice for many years that the sovereign and the heir to the throne receive the minutes of Cabinet meetings. It is important that the head of state and her heir are properly briefed.’
View video here….
Meddling Prince or voice of the people? From the Iraq War to alternative medicine – Charles’ secret letters to ministers
Prince Charles sent a series of secret letters to ministers, including some to former Prime Minister Tony Blair expressing his concern over the lack of resources for Armed Forces fighting in Iraq.
In one of 27 ‘black spider’ memos published in May after a decade-long legal battle, the heir to the throne complained that British forces were ‘being asked to do an extremely challenging job without the necessary resources’.
The Prince, who will be head of the Armed Forces when he is king, expressed fears to Mr Blair in a four-page missive that cuts to the defence budget would delay the overhaul of the ‘poor performance’ Lynx helicopter, an aircraft fleet used by troops during the conflict.
The letters were used air his concerns on some of his other pet projects, Charles also sent a series of letters to Whitehall departments, including health and education, about issues as wide-ranging as herbal medicine, bovine TB – and the illegal fishing of the Patagonian toothfish.
The memos, which were sent to ministers between 2004 and 2005, which was during Tony Blair’s spell as Prime Minister, could now raise questions over whether the future king successfully lobbied to influence government policy.
As the missives were uncovered, Clarence House defended the Prince’s right to ‘private communication’ and said the publication ‘can only inhibit his ability to express the concerns and suggestions which have been put to him in the course of his travels and meetings’.
The Prince’s principal private secretary William Nye added that the publication of the letter bundle would not stop him expressing his views to ministers in the future.
He said: ‘He will think about how he deals with things but I think he’ll continue to want to reflect the views that he hears from members of the public, and talk about things that matter to our society and the world to ministers of any government.’
The letters, all typed on royal household mastheads, revealed how:
Prince Charles contacted Tony Blair in 2004 over his concerns about a lack of resources for the Armed Forces in Iraq and particularly the ‘poor performance’ of the Lynx helicopter;
He also sent a barrage of correspondence to Mr Blair over seven-month period pushing for a cull of Britain’s badgers and describing opponents as ‘intellectually dishonest’
In 2004, he complained over modern teaching methods and extolled the virtues of his Summer Schools when writing to Education Secretary Charles Clarke
The future king also asked the then Prime Minister to ‘bring pressure’ on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs over the bureaucratic burden on farmers;
In a letter to Mr Blair in February 2005, he voiced support for ‘alternative’ medicines, describing a regulation to restrict practitioners as being like ‘using a sledgehammer to crack a nut’
He also penned a note to Environment Minister Elliot Morley in October 2004 in which he involved himself in the illegal fishing of the Patagonian toothfish
During a 2005 missive, he even made an ironic comment about his reluctance to put issues in writing to Mr Blair because of the Freedom of Information Act
In a letter to Health Secretary John Reid in February 2005 which shared his concerns over the future of hospital sites, he acknowledged that he was ‘at risk of being a complete bore
Found here. . . . .