Buckingham: from the Palace to the Parliamentary Constituency

So on the one hand, the Tories really don’t like John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons. And on the other hand, the hilarious letters Prince Charles used to write to ministers are finally going to be made public (full judgment here [pdf]), raising a question-mark over how he might try to shape public and ministerial opinion in the future in support of his various idiosyncratic and reactionary agendas.

A solution presents itself. John Bercow will stand for re-election in Buckingham as Speaker, and the three major parties will not stand against him, as is customary. (There’ll be a Ukipper and a Green–and this is where Farage stood last time, of course.) So what the Tories will be looking for is a way of running a candidate against him who is (i) officially an Independent, but in practice a Tory, and who (ii) might actually win the seat. Well, there’s Jeremy Clarkson, of course, who lives not so far away in Chipping Norton, and is looking for something new to do. He probably isn’t interested. But there’s also HRH The Prince of Wales.

Is the Prince eligible to stand for election to the House of Commons? I think he is. He is a peer, but he’s no longer a voting member of the House of Lords, which seems to be the key eligibility criterion. (There’s a quick guide to the question here [pdf], which refers you on to the 1975 House of Commons Disqualification Act, of which I haven’t read every word, but at a glance can’t see the bit that says No Royals.) And were he to be elected to the Commons, no-one could ever complain that he was exercising illegitimate influence by writing eccentric letters to ministers as often as he chose. He’d even have the benefit of Parliamentary privilege, if he wanted to slag off his enemies beyond the reach of the libel law. And the constituency work would give him something useful to do, while he continues to wait for his mother to die.

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