A Petition to
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
presented under clause 61 of Magna Carta, 1215
To Defend British Rights and Freedoms
as our humble duty, we draw to Your Majesty’s attention:
1. the loss of our national independence and the erosion of our ancient rights, freedoms and customs since the United Kingdom became a member of the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1973;
2. the terms of the Treaty of Nice, 2000, which, if ratified, will cause significant new losses of national independence, and further imperil the rights and freedoms of the British people, by surrendering powers to the European Union:
a) to enter into international treaties binding on the United Kingdom, without the consent of your Government;
b) to ban political parties, deny free association and restrict the free expression of political opinion;
c) which can be used to introduce an alien system of criminal justice, abolish the ancient British rights of habeas corpus and trial by jury, and allow onto British soil men-at-arms from other countries with powers of enforcement;
d) to create a military force which will place British service personnel under the command of the European Union without reference to British interests, and contrary to:
i) the oath of personal loyalty to the Crown sworn by British forces,
ii) the Queen’s Commission, and
iii) the United Kingdom’s obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation;
e) which remove the United Kingdom’s right to veto decisions not in British interests;
3. the creation by the European Union of a Charter of Fundamental Rights, which purports to give it the power to abolish such “rights” at will;
4. the unlawful use of the Royal Prerogative to
a) suspend or offend against statutes in ways which are prejudicial and detrimental to your sovereignty, contrary to the Coronation Oath Act, 1688;
b) subvert the rights and liberties of your loyal subjects, contrary to the ruling in Nichols v Nichols, 1576;
5. Your Majesty’s power to withhold the Royal Assent, and the precedent set by Queen Anne under a similar threat to the security of the Realm in 1707;
WHEREFORE it is our humble duty TO PETITION Your Majesty
to withhold the Royal Assent from any Parliamentary Bill which attempts to ratify the Treaty of Nice unless and until the people of the United Kingdom have given clear and specific approval;
to uphold and preserve the rights, freedoms and customs of your loyal subjects as set out in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights, which you, our Sovereign, swore before the nation to uphold and preserve in your Coronation Oath of June 1953.
We have the honour to be Your Majesty’s loyal and obedient subjects.
4. The House of Lords Records Office confirmed in writing as recently as last September that Magna Carta, signed by King John in June 1215, stands to this day. Home Secretary Jack Straw said as much on 1 October 2000, when the Human Rights Act came into force. Halsbury’s Laws of England says: “Magna Carta is as binding upon the Crown today as it was the day it was sealed at Runnymede.”
5. Copies of the petition - in calligraphy on vellum - will be available to supporters after the presentation on 7 February. Send a cheque for £25 (which includes postage and packing) to Sanity, 66 Chippingfield, Harlow, Essex, CM17 0DJ. All receipts will go toward defraying costs.
6. The day after the presentation of the petition (8 February) is the start of Her Majesty’s Jubilee Year. The following week marks the anniversaries of the dating (12 February) and signing (13 February) of The Declaration of Rights in 1688.
7. The meeting of peers is being organised by Lord Ashbourne, supported by Lord Sudeley and Lord Massereene & Ferrard acting in his capacity as Lord Oriel since his premier title is Scottish and pre-dates the Act of Union, 1707.
8. The Treaty of Nice signed by the British Government in December 2000 includes:
Article 24 - transforms the EU into an independent state with powers to enter into treaties with other states which would then be binding on all member states, subject to agreement determined by qualified majority voting. Article 23 allows the EU to appoint its own representatives in other countries, effectively with ambassadorial status.
Article 191 - assumes for the EU the right to “lay down regulations governing political parties at European level [ie: in the EU]” and withdraw or prevent the funding of political parties which do not “contribute to forming a European awareness.” This is a clear restriction of free speech and free political association. It also introduces two particularly abhorrent propositions - taxation without representation and the use of sanctions to suppress public opinion.
Articles 29 and 31 - establish common policing and judicial cooperation (Eurojust). Article 67 allows matters of justice and home affairs to be agreed by QMV. These articles open the door to the imposition of Corpus Juris on the UK (article 31 specifically calls for cross-border policing and prosecution, and the removal of conflicts of jurisdiction), and the deployment of armed Europol law enforcement officers on the streets of Britain. These matters were originally dealt with under article 280, which mysteriously disappeared from the draft of the Nice Treaty at the very last minute, in part at least following heavy pressure from British eurorealists.
Article 17 - establishes a common foreign and defence policy for the EU, with its own military force. The House of Commons was told on 11 December 2000, that: “The entire chain of command must remain under the political control and strategic direction of the EU. NATO will be kept informed.” Her Majesty The Queen is Commander in Chief of all her armed forces and Colonel in Chief of 46 of Her Regiments of the British army, every other regiment owing its loyalty directly via another member of The Royal Family as its Colonel in Chief to Her Majesty.
The loss of the UK veto applies to 39 new areas of EU “competence”, including indirect taxation, the environment, immigration, trade, employment, industrial policy, and regional funding. The EU also has plans for QMV to be expended to other areas not agreed at Nice, and without further treaty negotiations.
9. Charter of Fundamental Rights - signed at Biarritz, autumn 2000. Article 52 purports to give the EU the power to abolish them at will, effectively making them meaningless. The whole proposition that the state has the right to grant and abolish fundamental human rights [ie: those we inherent at birth and hold in trust for future generations] is not only absurd but also contrary to Magna Carta, 1215, the Declaration of Rights, 1688, and the Bill of Rights 1689.
10. Clause 61 of Magna Carta was last invoked when the Bishop of Salisbury (Gilbert Burnet) acted on behalf of the barons and bishops of England to invite William of Orange and Mary to come to London in 1688, after King James II had failed to re-establish Roman Catholicism in England, and lost the confidence of the people. His act of abdication was to throw the Great Seal into the Thames and flee the country.
11. The ruling in Nichols v Nichols 1576 included the words: “Prerogative is created for the benefit of the people and cannot be exercised to their prejudice.” (The Royal Prerogative is the power delegated by the sovereign to ministers to sign treaties on behalf of the nation.)
12. In 1707, Queen Anne withheld the Royal Assent from the Scottish Militia Bill when it became apparent that James Francis Stuart (pretender Prince of Wales, and the Queen’s half-brother) was planning with Louis XIV of France to invade Scotland from Calais in an attempt to establish a Jacobite sovereign. Were such an invasion to be successful, the Queen feared a Scottish militia might be turned against the monarchy. Thus, parliament’s will was denied in the interests of the sovereignty of the nation and the security of the realm.
13. Addressing both Houses of Parliament on 20 July 1988, at an historic meeting of both houses to mark the 300th anniversary of the Declaration of Rights, Her Majesty said that it was “still part of statute law...on which the whole foundation and edifice of our parliamentary democracy rests.” The Declaration of Rights spelt out the details:
“…the said Lords…and Commons, being the two Houses of Parliament, should continue to sit and…make effectual provision for the settlement of the …laws and liberties of this kingdom, so that the same for the future might not be in danger again of being subverted. …the particulars aforesaid shall be firmly and strictly holden and observed…and all officers and ministers whatsoever shall serve their Majesties and their successors according to the same, in all time to come.”
14. Both Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights are contracts between the sovereign and the people. Because they are not statute law they cannot be repealed. Both proclaimed what were taken to be self-evident freedoms which exist by right. Equally, both were based on a concept of permanence.