Lib Dems raised concerns about withholding Prince Charles’ letters

From the Sunday Times (£):

A CABINET rift over the Conservatives’ decision to block the release of letters from the Prince of Wales to government ministers has raised fresh questions about the government’s openness agenda.

Liberal Democrats have claimed that not allowing the letters to be released could breach the spirit of freedom of information (FoI) laws.

Nick Clegg and other Lib Dem ministers privately questioned the government’s decision to block the release of letters written by Prince Charles to members of the last Labour government, which had been requested under FoI rules.

When consulted by Dominic Grieve, the attorney-general, they are understood to have raised objections on the grounds that the law provides for publication of such documents.

However, Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, is said by senior government sources to have supported the refusal to release the 27 letters…

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13 Comments

  • Kevin McNamara 22nd Oct '12 - 10:25am

    i’m sure ever lib dem did so this doesn’t comfort me as they didn’t stop the great cover-up. some “new politics”.

  • To be honest. I.m more concerned by the winks and nods from within Royal circles that helped Cameron become the leader of the Conservative party instead of the much more formidable Dave Davies

  • that should be Dave Davis, not the Kinks guitarist

  • He’s not a fit and proper person to be King. When are we going to make that decision? The day after the Queen falls under the red bus?

  • There is no fit and proper person test for a monarch. See just about any history book written by anyone other than a King :-)

  • Once the Lib Dems in Government decided to withhold the NHS Risk Register, a document pertinent to what was then a current debate, they lost the chance to hold any high ground on open government. To talk about the “spirit of freedom of information (FoI) laws” having been involved directly in a decision to defy the information commissioner is a joke. Remember that in that case he said about that refusal to disclose “None of the criteria for ‘exceptional cases’… are met”.

    I don’t know whether or not the future King should expect his letters to be kept private, but I know that some people have lost the moral right to complain when they are…

  • Keith Browning 22nd Oct '12 - 4:19pm

    @Hywel – There has very frequently been a ‘fit and proper person’ test. Just look back to the ‘abdication saga’ in the last century and in fact rarely in the past 1000 years has the Monarch been chosen soley on their genes. In recent centuries religion was a key factor and before that it was the whim of the previous encumbent or the size of the candidates army, that decided who held the Crown.

    I’m a Charles fan because he does speak up for his generation, one that has been totally overlooked by the current political elite. He was decades ahead of the rest on green issues and removing the architectural carbuncles that littered the 60s and 70s. I would be interested to hear what he said to Blair et al. It would probably be very illuminating.

  • Funny how we haven’t heard anything about Nick Clegg and other LibDem ministers questioning why MPs are trying to block publication of material which could show they are renting their taxpayer-funded homes to each other…

  • Charlie doesn’t get the best press from non Tories. Most of us wonder what he is up to in venting his opinions to ministers as though they are important rather than presumptuous. However I attended the Princes Trust presentation evening a few months ago and witnessed examples of very severely disadvantaged young people achieving success with the help of the Trust. He may be a bit odd and part of a medaeval institution but he is OK.

  • I thought the whole point was that the royal family are not supposed to involve themselves in political issues. So why do they need to hide the content of these letters ? Too politically sensitive ? And when will we be grown up enough to have a republic instead of rule by entrenched privilege ?

  • Only in Britain could an unelected individual meddle freely in public policy decision making, and only in Britain would elected individuals express their concerns privately. They should be discussing this affront to democracy in the commons and shouting their concerns from the rooftops. Dominic Grieve has as good as said that Charles’ meddling is on such a scale that he must not be scrutinised for fear of revealing that fact. I pray that the Guardian will succeed in their appeal to the high court tyi uphold the ruling of the recent tribunal and that the high court will not see fit to rubber stamp Dominic Grieve’s position which is that the public interest counts for nothing in this matter and the Windsors’ interests are paramount.

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