Perhaps it’s the circles I move in but most of my colleagues are against having a monarchy and have avoided any ‘celebrations’ over last weekend. Even those who did join in did so less from a sense of support for royalty but to enjoy the spectacle.
There is a growing republican movement in this country though I suspect we are a long way off from making the switch from having a constitutional monarchy. Part of the problem is that to be an MP you have to swear allegiance to the queen and so how do you square this with a plan to remove her from power? Not that politicians have ever said one thing and done another.
If we were, however, to move from a monarchy to a republic there would be a huge amount of work to do. It can’t be an overnight switch. Recent issues have shown that the lack of a written constitution is a hindrance to the way our politics operate. It has been possible for ministers to circumvent due process and to change rules in flight. We need a head of state that makes sure that people play by the rules, that the political process is fair and transparent and that allows the democratic mandate to be followed.
Here is my proposal to make it happen:
- Before anything happens a select committee meets to consider prospective candidates for an interim head of state role.
- Once a range of candidates has been identified, there will be an election among MPs only to appoint an interim head of state
- From a chosen date the interim head of state replaces the monarch for a period of five years.
- For this period their primary function is to agree on a written constitution and work out how the relationship between head of state and parliament will work, addressing such issues how, at present, the Prime Minister is able to call an election. This could result in the head of state and the Prime Minister being elected at the same time.
- Towards the end of the five years, elections are held to appoint a new head of state on a fixed term basis.
- The UK becomes a republic.