HC Deb 27 February 1952 vol 496 cc1142-3
46. Sir I. Fraser

asked the Prime Minister whether he will introduce legislation dealing with the form of the Royal Style and Titles.

47. Mr. John Rankin

asked the Prime Minister whether he will introduce legislation concerning the style and title of the Sovereign, in view of the decisions taken by the Commonwealth Conference of 1948.

The Prime Minister

I am not at present in a position to make any statement on this question. The hon. Members will realise that, in view of the Preamble to the Statute of Westminster, this is a matter which concerns not only this Parliament but those of other Commonwealth countries as well.

Mr. Rankin

Will the right hon. Gentleman, in giving thought to this matter, pay attention to the findings of the Commonwealth Conference of 1948 which recommended that the continued use of the description "British Commonwealth" no longer harmonises with existing relationships within the Commonwealth and recommended that the phrase "The Commonwealth" should be used in describing the association?

The Prime Minister

I should hestitate to attempt to make constitutional pronouncements in reply to a supplementary question, but the point of the hon. Member will be recorded in the OFFICIAL REPORT and I am sure that it will be taken into consideration when these matters are being decided.

Sir I. Fraser

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the Royal Style and Titles used in the Proclamation were valid or whether they require statutory authority to validate them?

The Prime Minister

I should not venture to trespass on such difficult and dangerous ground.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the variety used in the various Proclamations of Accession in different Commonwealth countries might now make it wise to consider taking an initiative with Commonwealth Governments on the matter of changing the Royal Style and Titles?

The Prime Minister

I certainly think the various versions which have appeared should confront us all with the need of considering these matters in the future in order that there may be the fullest possible agreement, but sometimes agreement is reached as a result of variety.

Mr. Rankin

May I thank the Prime Minister for his answer and, when he is considering the matter, will he also give thought to the fact that so far as the designation of the Sovereign is concerned there have been Scottish criticisms, and would he pay attention to those also?

Mr. Emrys Hughes

May I have your guidance, Mr. Speaker? There have been different Questions on the Order Paper this week in which the Sovereign has been referred to as "Elizabeth II." Is this historically accurate? Also I notice that the title "Elizabeth II" has been dropped from today's Order Paper, and I want to ask if it is as a result of your guidance, Sir, knowing the history of Scotland?

Mr. Speaker

Certainly it is not the result of any intervention on my part.