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The Queen’s lawyers secretly lobbied Scottish ministers to change a draft law to exempt her private land from a major initiative to cut carbon emissions, according to new documents.
Representatives of the long-serving monarch reportedly used secretive procedures to become the only individual in Britain who does not have to adhere to green energy rules, in a move that appears to be directly at odds with the royal family’s public support for environmental issues.
This unique exemption means that Queen Elizabeth II, who ranks among the most prominent landowners in Scotland, is not required to ensure pipelines that heat buildings are constructed to use renewable energy.
As reported by The Guardian, these documents were uncovered by Scottish Liberal Democrats researcher Lily Humphreys, who used freedom of information laws to disclose how the Queen had been using her privileged access to Scottish legislation to intervene in parliamentary processes as recently as February of this year.
These documents reportedly also suggest that First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon’s government had this year failed to disclose Queen Elizabeth’s lobbying after a Scottish politician queried why exactly an exemption was being sought during a parliamentary debate.
Speaking with The Guardian, former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, expressed concerns over this news:
Others who lobby for changes have to declare it. That should be true for everyone. The Queen rightly does not express her views publicly and does so privately with the Prime Minister and First Minister.
However, this is different. It’s about the interests of the head of state’s assets and direct interests. Any of these communications should be notified publicly and openly so we can judge for ourselves.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson gave the following statement:
The royal household can be consulted on bills in order to ensure the technical accuracy and consistency of the application of the bill to the crown, a complex legal principle governed by statute and common law. This process does not change the nature of any such bill.
The Queen’s legal team were reportedly able to secure the dispensation from the Scottish government five months back using the Queen’s consent.
This is an arcane parliamentary procedure that affords the reigning monarch advance sight of legislation, and has existed as a custom in Westminster since the 1700s.
The Guardian has carried out a series of reports into Queen Elizabeth’s consent in recent months, and found that, between the late 1960s and the 1980s, she had repeatedly used her special access to draft laws, lobbying ministers to amend UK legislation in a way that would either ‘benefit her private interests or reflect her opinions’.
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