Thursday, June 28, 2007

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie ?

The Act and Treaty of Union 1707

One of the problems which has caused concern for Catholics has been the prohibition of the Monarch being a Catholic or even the spouse of the Monarch being Catholic. Offence is caused by the prohibition.

There are many prohibitions in the law regarding this. The statutes are regarded as constitutional statutes and difficult to amend or even repeal without opening up even more difficult questions as regards the constitution.

One of the prohibitions is contained in the Act and Treaty of Union of 1707 which united the Parliaments of Scotland and England to form the UK Parliament. The Act and Treaty of Union celebrates its 300th anniversary this year. Trying to amend the Act and Treaty of Union with an SNP administration in the Scottish Parliament would not be something that a United Kingdom Government would do unless draggged, forced and compelled to do. Too many other issues would be raised which are probably best left alone.

Article II of the Treaty provided that the monarchy was to be Protestant and stated that papists and persons marrying papists were to be “excluded from and for ever incapable to inherit” the Imperial Crown of Great Britain.

The Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Act 1706, is incorporated in the Treaty by the ratifying Acts of the old Scottish and English Parliaments , and is stated to be not capable of amendment or repeal.

In The Union and the law by David Walker the former Regius Professor of Law in the University of Glasgow from 1958-1990 explains the difficulties from a legal point of view of trying to amend the Act and Treaty of Union and in particular those clauses dealing with the religion of the Monarch and his/her family.