The Ultimate Test
Despite all those rights, freedoms and
protections, established over centuries, today our
common laws, rights, freedoms, liberties and customs are
being demolished with the speed and thoroughness of a
team of statutory bulldozers.
Long ago, Magna Carta dealt with the
problem of a sovereign acting above the law. Later, the
Declaration of Rights confirmed the estates of the realm
and their relationship to one another - a series of
checks and balances. Today, that relationship has been
seriously undermined. We now have a House of Commons
acting above the law, plainly contemptuous of the
(remaining) powers of The Queen and the House of Lords.
Such an overwhelming concentration of
power in the hands of the executive, especially one with
a huge parliamentary majority, means that we are
currently faced with an extreme example of what Lord
Hailsham famously called "an elective
Writing in The Sunday Times, in
July 1970, he said:
"It is the parliamentary
majority that has the potential for tyranny. The thing
that the Courts cannot protect you against is parliament
- the traditional protector of our liberties. But
parliament is constantly making mistakes and could in
theory become the most oppressive instrument in the
Others had agreed with him in the
"A political system resting on
professional party politicians is clearly fatal to all
liberty and national well-being. It represents a total
destruction of our historic Parliamentary constitution
behind whose forms, institutions and ceremonies it has
disguised itself whilst at the same time rendering them
meaningless. The full meaning of Parliamentary supremacy
is now lost to us by the constitutional corruptions
which the professional politician has fomented by their
appeals to an alien and fraudulent political ideology.
By clearly identifying and correcting these corruptions
we can recover the enduring qualities of strength and
freedom of our parliamentary constitution for which
generations of Englishmen have for centuries been ready
to sacrifice their lives and their possessions"
(1907-74) Introduction to Bagehot's "The English
Ben Greene pointed out in his book The
Restoration of the English Constitution that Bagehot
was quite open about the deception by which the English
people were deprived of their great constitutional
heritage. The English monarchy had been reduced to an
‘act of disguise’ for a de facto republic.
Its role enabled the executive to effect change without
people realising it. This ‘ancient show’, as the
monarchy was called, covered the clandestine
introduction of ‘a new reality’.
John Locke once more. He had no
doubts. The people remain sovereign:
"…there remains still in the
people the supreme power to remove or alter the
legislative when they find the legislative act contrary
to the trust reposed in them."
Winston Churchill expressed clear
views about our relationship with Europe and about our
sovereignty as enshrined in Magna Carta.
"We are with Europe, but not of
it. We are linked, but not combined. We are interested
and associated, but not absorbed. And should European
statesmen address us in the words which were used of
old: ‘Shall I speak for thee to the King?’, we
should reply with the words of the Shunamite woman: ‘Nay
sir, for we dwell among our own people’."
Churchill was confident of the
safeguards contained in Magna Carta. Writing in his History
of The English-Speaking Peoples, he said:
"…and when in subsequent ages
the state, swollen with its own authority, has attempted
to ride roughshod over the rights and liberties of the
subject it is to this doctrine that appeal has again and
again been made, and never, as yet, without
The Magna Carta Society, and tens of
thousands like us, believe the time has come - indeed,
is overdue - to put the great principles and rights
enshrined in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights
to the test once again.
Eventually, the issue of the EU's
right to rule over the UK must be tested in the highest
court in the land and - given the speed and
comprehensiveness of present EU legislation and its
destructiveness - that test must be made as a matter of
the highest priority.
Already faced with the most
fundamental concerns for the structure and protection of
this nation’s constitution it now appears that the
battle over the EU has developed a second front - the
dismantling of our parliamentary institutions and the
most cavalier disregard for our constitution and rights.
Given the extracts above, there is
good reason to believe that, under Magna Carta, 25
hereditary peers can convene themselves as a quorum, and
sit as a House of Lords, despite the recent passage of a
bill purporting to restrict its hereditary numbers.
We have reason to believe that such a
quorum can be assembled.
Furthermore, under the terms of Magna
Carta, that House has an obligation to hear petitions
brought by free men, and take them to The Queen, who -
equally - has an obligation to hear them.
That is the ultimate consequence of
the unique contract first established with Magna Carta
and renewed at each coronation.
To those in government and the
judiciary who might try to argue that we no longer have
the right of petition and appeal to The Queen, there are
serious questions to answer:
When do they claim that right was
taken away? By whom? And how? On whose authority? And by
(We believe the last monarch to
receive and act on a petition was Queen Victoria, and we
can find no evidence of any attempt to prevent or hinder
any such petition subsequently. Nor does there appear to
be any legislation which attempts to defy the contract
made between sovereign and subjects in Magna Carta and
the Coronation Oath. We acknowledge that it has become
custom in the last few years for petitions to be passed
to ministers of the crown for action, but that is not to
say that the monarch can no longer act in her own right.
Indeed, in current circumstances, the ministers
themselves are party to our complaint, and cannot
therefore deal with the matters complained of.)
In any case, the sovereign cannot be
absolved from her obligations, responsibilities and
duties to her subjects, and certainly not on the mere
advice of ministers. Otherwise the Coronation Oath would
Which is why we are preparing a
petition to be submitted to the hereditary House of
Lords for presentation to The Queen, based on the
"We the undersigned seek to draw
attention to and seek redress from the imposition of
foreign laws, directives, regulations and judicial
decisions by and from the European Union and its
institutions, to the detriment and prejudice of your
sovereignty and to our rights and freedoms as defined in
Magna Carta, the Declaration of Rights, and by the
customs of your people, and which you, our sovereign,
swore to uphold and preserve inviolate in your
Coronation Oath of 1953."
If Magna Carta stands, we have a
right to enter such a petition.
If it does not, this kingdom stands
in dire peril, the executive have some momentous
questions to answer, and all free men of this kingdom
should hear the call.
Whether Magna Carta stands or not,
action is needed, and we intend to take it.