Monday, 28 April 2014

Letters written by Prince Charles to politicians should be made public

Commenting on the news that Ministers and Government Departments have spent over £274,000 on legal fees in the past four years to prevent the publication of letters written by Prince Charles to politicians, Roger said: “I think it is outrageous that this amount of money has been spent on trying to hide letters from Prince Charles on ‘political matters’.

“Prince Charles, as the heir to the throne, is perfectly entitled to express a view to Ministers and Government Departments on political issues if he wants to, but he should not have any elevated status above elected politicians and members of the public. If I write a letter to a Government Department then it is in the public domain, and quite rightly so. Why should letters written by Prince Charles be treated differently? This is particularly important as some of his representations may well be about matters which affect the vast land holdings held by the Crown”.

The reason given by the Attorney General for not making public the contents of Charles’ letters to Government was that it would damage Charles’ ability to perform his duties as king, as the letters cast doubt on his political neutrality. Roger commented: “It is adding insult to injury that these legal costs are being paid for from the public purse. Charles has damaged his own neutrality--and therefore his ability to perform his future role as king--by his meddling in public affairs. Rather than allowing the public to see the truth of his lobbying and make up their own minds about his suitability as head of state, this Government has spent UK citizens’ hard-earned taxes on hiding the truth of Charles’ interference from public scrutiny.”

Prince Charles receives an income of £19m per year from the Duchy of Cornwall, which he “owns” as the heir to the throne. Despite his using this property to engage in a wide range of commercial activities, he is exempt from paying tax on this enormous income and does so only voluntarily. He is therefore able to pay tax under the arrangements which are most favourable to him, unlike all the UK citizens struggling to make ends meet, who are not permitted to pick and choose which taxes they pay.

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