§ 34 and 35. Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
asked the Prime Minister (1) whether, in accordance with his promise, he has yet consulted the proper authority; and, if so, whether, having regard to the fact that Prince Charles Edward, Duke of Albany, reigning Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and a Prince of the United Kingdom, who is now in arms with the German forces against the Sovereign of these countries, takes, as a peer of the royal blood, rank in the scale of general or social precedence immediately after His Royal Highness the Duke of Connaught and before the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chancelor and is likewise a G.C.V.O. and has been expelled from the Order of the Garter, he can now say if steps will be taken to deprive him of such general or social precedence and of the status of G.C.V.O., the allowance of the retention of these positions by one openly and avowedly guilty of high treason, being lowering to the self-respect and calculated to excite the indignation of loyal subjects of the Crown both in the United Kingdom and throughout the British Empire; and (2) whether, in accordance with his promise, he has yet consulted the proper authority; and, if so, whether, having regard to the fact that the Dukes of Cumberland and of Albany, both natural-born subjects of the British Crown, who have never renounced their allegiance thereto, are the holders respectively of two and of three peerages with hereditary seats in the House of Lords, are now in arms with enemies against the Sovereign and people 78 of these countries, and have been expelled from the Order of the Garter, he can now say if steps will be taken, ownig to their notorious high treason and the indignation aroused thereby, for the deprivation of these persons by legislation, process of outlawry, or otherwise, of peerages which they themselves, if willing to do so, cannot surrender in view of judicial opinion and the Resolution of the House of Lords based thereon in the Guy de Ruthyn case in 1640 that no peer of the realm can disown or extinguish his honour?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The whole question of honours and titles of distinction held in each country by the citizens of the other is highly complicated. It is now under consideration whether some permanent rule governing these matters can be laid down, instead of dealing separately with each individual case. The deprivation of peerages would require legislation which, as at present advised, the Government are not prepared to introduce.
§ Mr. SWIFT MacNEILL
Having regard to the fact that the English peerage has behaved so nobly in the War, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that it should not be allowed to be tainted any longer because of an Act of Parliament passed 300 years ago?