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Bid to axe Harry and Meghan's titles hits major obstacle as Rishi Sunak intervenes

Daily Express logo Daily Express 09/12/2022 Millie Cooke
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The bid to give parliament the power to remove and 's titles hit an obstacle today as the Prime Minister has weighed into the row over the royal titles. Labour MP Rachael Maskell has put forward legislation which would give parliament the power to strip members of the of their titles. The Bill is on its Second Reading in the House of Commons today.

But today the Prime Minister's official spokesperson said Rishi Sunak "does not support the Bill".

While the Bill, proposed by the MP for York, was initially focused on stripping the Duke of York of his titles, there have since been calls for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to be stripped of theirs.

This comes as Meghan and Harry continue to take aim at the Royal Family, with the first half of their six-part Netflix series being released yesterday.

Conservative MP Bob Seely said there is a "political issue" with Harry's comments, saying he plans to bring forward proposed legislation that could eventually see the couple stripped of their royal titles.

Harry and Meghan © Getty Harry and Meghan

Writing in her column for the New Zealand Herald, writer and royal commentator Daniela Elser claimed that Prince William is the "real target" of Meghan and Harry's bombshell series, suggesting that Harry is "rubbing salt in the wound" as he continues to make accusations against the Royal Family, alongside Meghan Markle.

Ms Elser writes: "Today, the day after the night before, something has become clear and that there is something of a forgotten victim in this sorry saga - ol' William."

He told PA: "There is a political issue. As well as trashing his family and monetising his misery for public consumption, he is also attacking some important institutions in this country."

The Isle of Wight MP suggested he could bring forward a short Private Members' bill in the new year that, if passed, would see MPs vote on a resolution that could give the Privy Council the power to downgrade the couple's royal status.

In the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's documentary, Harry accused the royals of having a "huge level of unconscious bias", while Meghan said the media wanted to "destroy" her.

Employment Minister Guy Opperman called for a public "boycott" of Netflix, saying the couple are "utterly irrelevant".

Harry and Meghan © Getty Harry and Meghan

He told BBC's Question Time: "I think they are clearly a very troubled couple, which I think anybody looking at them can say is a sad state of affairs.

"That having been said, I agree that they are utterly irrelevant to this country and the progress of this country and the royal family that we all, I believe, support."

He added: "I don't think it has a fundamental impact on the royal family. I certainly won't be watching it.

"I would urge everyone to boycott Netflix and make sure that we actually focus on the things that matter."

Meghan Markle's Career © Express Meghan Markle's Career

But he admitted that the extent to which the couple's lives were "picked over" by the media when they were living in the UK was "unacceptable".

Mr Opperman said: "I do think there is a legitimate question as to media intrusion into some people's private lives.

"That is an ongoing debate, which quite clearly the degree of extent to which their lives are picked over is something that, when they were living here, was unacceptable."

Ms Maskell, MP for York, introduced the Removal of Titles Bill in June 2022. It would give the monarch new powers to remove titles or a committee of Parliament to determine that a title should be taken away.

She told Express.co.uk that the Bill would allow the people of York to address their "grievance" with Prince Andrew having links to the city.

Rishi Sunak © Getty Rishi Sunak

The MP explained: "The Bill gives powers to the monarch and to Parliament to remove a title. While having powers to hand down or hand out titles, there is an anomaly to remove such a title.

"Whether from members of the Royal Household or those that sit in the House of Lords, there may, from time to time be a need to recognise that the holding of a title is no longer appropriate.

"York's grievance is that in taking the title of a geographical area, such as York, and having an ambassadorial role, it is so important that a title is in keeping of the values of a place.

"The Bill would also address issues such as the removal of the title from Lord Lebedev, the Russian oligarch appoint to the House of Lords by the former Prime Minister."

While she did not comment on whether she would support the removal of Harry and Meghan's titles, she said the Bill would provide the "framework" to do so.

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