Published On: Wed, Sep 25th, 2019

Queen news: John McDonnell tells cheering crowd he is republican | Politics | News

The shadow Chancellor was speaking at a fringe event at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Tuesday after the Supreme Court ruled Boris Johnson had misled the Queen and unlawfully prorogued Parliament. Hosted by the Times’ Redbox podcast, Mr McDonnell spoke in front of an audience of opposition party supporters. It came on the same day Jeremy Corbyn called for Boris Johnson to resign from the post of prime minister.

When asked if the Monarchy should be abolished, Mr McDonnell was greeted by cheers from the audience at the Labour Party fringe event.

He said: “I have great respect for Her Majesty and the role that she’s played has demonstrated great commitment to her people and her country.

“But I am a republican, I don’t believe in a monarchy and I don’t believe in positions being inherited.

“Tony Benn always used to say ‘Look I’m going in for an operation. The bloke who is going to operate on me isn’t qualified, but his dad was a surgeon, so don’t worry about it’.

“I’m a republican and I believe people in positions should be elected.”

Mr McDonnell’s comments were greeted, mostly, by applause and cheers from the crowd.

Continuing, the shadow chancellor said: “But that doesn’t mean to say I don’t have respect for the role she’s played.

“She came to my constituency and I showed her around the town centre and I found her absolutely lovely. So nice with people and I had a lot of time for her.

READ MORE: Supreme Court judgement: Boris Johnson broke law over suspension

“The debate we need to have is whether or not the institutions available to us are sufficiently democratic enough to hold politicians to account.

“So that means, for example, for me, the constitutional bugbear for me is why do we have a House of Lords, with hereditary members and all the appointed members.

“The discussion we are having at the moment is how do we reform that.

“One of the ideas is bringing forward ideas of federalism, of having an elected senate instead of a House of Lords and in that way, we can also rectify some of the issues around our electoral system.

“So that’s the debate we’re going to have now, it’s more significant than one around a monarchy.”

Mr McDonnell’s comments come after the Supreme Court found Mr Johnson’s prorogation of parliament to be “unlawful”.

Mr Johnson claimed he suspended Parliament in order to come up with a new agenda ahead of the Queen’s speech, which traditionally opens a new session in the House of Commons.

Many critics of the Prime Minister have said that he should stand down for “lying” to the Queen about why he wishes to suspend Parliament for five weeks.

A Government source said the Prime Minister spoke to the Queen from the UN General Assembly in New York.

Mr Johnson refused to say if he apologised to the monarch, which some critics had called for.

On Wednesday, Jeremy Corbyn demanded Mr Johnson should apologise to both Her Majesty and the British public.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Islington North MP said: “He clearly has abused the power he has in the royal prerogative and attempted to close down Parliament.

“Thanks to the Supreme Court, we now have Parliament meeting again today and we will once again be able to question the Government in what it is actually doing in taking us out of the EU without a deal, with all the damage that will do to people’s jobs and livelihoods.

“I think he should apologise to her (the Queen) for the advice he gave her but, more importantly, apologise to the British people for what he’s done in trying to shut down our democracy at a very crucial time when people are very, very worried about what will happen on October 31.”

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