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Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): Order. Time is up.

5.25 pm

Rev. Ian Paisley (North Antrim): I oppose the motion. The hon. Member for Hull, North (Mr. McNamara) is seeking to undermine the constitution, all through the dominion of what we call a ten-minute rule Bill. He has raised matters of deep constitutional meaning, which have

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a meaning for us all. Surely if we are going to review—and change—the constitution of this United Kingdom, that deserves more than a ten-minute Bill, because such a Bill has neither the time nor the capacity to deal with such issues.

I want to take up some immediate questions. The hon. Gentleman laid great emphasis on Europe, and on how Europe feels, and said that those in Europe look upon our constitution as bigoted and discriminatory. However, article 16 of the constitution of Spain underscores the special relationship of Spain with the Roman Catholic Church, and says that the only successors who may enter into the monarchic relationship in Spain must be successors of His Majesty Don Carlos. That house is of course a strictly Roman Catholic house, and those successors are strictly Roman Catholic.

In Belgium, which is also a Roman Catholic country, the king himself—not the law but the king—can decide who his successor should marry, and if the successor marries without the king's consent he cannot be king. The written constitution says that the rightful succession is through the descent of the Roman Catholic Saxe-Coburg dynasty.

In Sweden, which is also a member of the European Union, the king must always profess the pure Evangelical Lutheran faith as adopted and explained in the unaltered Constitution of Augsburg. According to the resolution of the Uppsala meeting in the year 1593, princes and princesses of the royal house must be brought up in the same faith and within the realm. Any member of the royal family not professing that faith will be excluded from all rights of succession.

Let us look at Denmark, which is also a member of the European Union. Part 2 of its constitution states that the king shall be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and according to section 4 of the constitution, the Evangelical Lutheran Church shall be the established Church of Denmark.

If one looks to the Netherlands, one finds in article 24 of the constitution that the succession to the throne is hereditary and limited to the legitimate descendants of King William I—not King William III, but King William I, Prince of Orange: a Protestant succession indeed.

So two Roman Catholic countries in the European Union say that they should have a Roman Catholic monarch, and the other countries that I have mentioned say that they should have a Protestant monarch.

The emphasis of the Bill of Rights of 1688 was not on religion, but on the security of this nation, and the Act is based on that security. Under the reigns of Bloody Mary and King James, this nation learned that it was not safe. That was the basis on which that Bill was drafted, and the Williamite revolution settlement is the basis for our constitutional position.

The Williamite revolution settlement has served this nation well in the past, and to say now that our hands should be put to the job of dismantling that settlement is strange, for we do not know what people want to put in its place. What will be put in the place of the Williamite revolution settlement?

I do not hear any agitation among nonconformists about the fact that the Queen is the supreme governor, or head,

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of the Church of England. They do not say that that is a terrible thing and that they are slighted because the monarch cannot be a nonconformist. I do not hear that at all, and I tell the House that we should not put our hands to destroying something that has served this country well, and replace it with something that is the subject of debate in a courthouse in Europe.

Those in Europe seem to be saying, "Don't do as we do, do what we say you should do." Let them deal with those matters before they lecture the House and the United Kingdom and tell us that we are discriminatory and bigoted. That is a matter that they have to face up to, and they should do so realistically. The House would be well advised to say, "No. We cannot put our hands to such a proposal at the present time." However, if the Government are interested in this matter, as they have stated, it is their responsibility to propose such a Bill and to give proper time for its debate, argument and consideration.

Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 23 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of Select Committees at commencement of public business):

The House divided: Ayes 170, Noes 32.

Division No. 122
[5.32 pm


Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Banks, Tony
Barrett, John
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Brake, Tom
Breed, Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Bruce, Malcolm
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Paul
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Challen, Colin
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Corston, Jean
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Daisley, Paul
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Brian H
Doughty, Sue
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Drown, Ms Julia
Ewing, Annabelle
Flynn, Paul
Foster, Don (Bath)
Galloway, George
Gibson, Dr Ian
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Harvey, Nick
Heath, David
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Holmes, Paul
Hopkins, Kelvin
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jenkins, Brian
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Lloyd, Tony
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lyons, John
McCabe, Stephen
MacDougall, John
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mann, John
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall–Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Meale, Alan
Mole, Chris
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Julie
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
O'Hara, Edward
Öpik, Lembit
Organ, Diana
Owen, Albert
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Price, Adam
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Rapson, Syd
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Salmond, Alex
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Sawford, Phil
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Siôn
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Soley, Clive
Stevenson, George
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Tyler, Paul
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Weir, Michael
White, Brian
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Winnick, David
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun
Worthington, Tony
Wright, David (Telford)
Wyatt, Derek
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:

Jeremy Corbyn and
Mr. Malcolm Savidge.


Baron, John
Browning, Mrs Angela
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Conway, Derek
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger
Hoban, Mark
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Syms, Robert
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Viggers, Peter
Watkinson, Angela
Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)

Tellers for the Noes:

Rev. Ian Paisley and
Mr. Gerald Howarth.

Question accordingly agreed to.

19 Dec 2001 : Column 324

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Kevin McNamara, Ann Clwyd, Mr. Edward O'Hara, Paul Flynn, Mr. Malcolm Savidge, Jeremy Corbyn, Mr. Alex Salmond, Mrs. Alice Mahon, Andrew Mackinlay, Kevin Brennan and John Austin.

19 Dec 2001 : Column 325

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