4 March 2011

Another question about the duchy of Cornwall in the Commons: this one asked on what basis the department for the environment, food, and rural affairs (DEFRA) consulted the duchy on the Marine and Coastal Access bill 2009 and whether the bill was amended as a result of the consultations.

The government said: “If a bill’s provisions affect the interests (hereditary revenues, personal property or other interests) of the duchy of Cornwall, it is sometimes necessary to liaise with representatives of the prince of Wales in order to obtain “prince’s consent”, as part of the parliamentary process. Since the provisions of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 affect the interests of the Crown and the duchy of Cornwall it was necessary to obtain both queen’s and prince’s consent before the bill was passed, and it was on this basis that the department consulted representatives of the duchy of Cornwall. No amendments were made to the Marine bill as a consequence of this process” [Hansard 28 February 2011 c62W].

I read this reply as meaning that the consultation was because of the legitimate property and financial interests of the affected landowners, the queen and prince of Wales; a rational consultation. It was not because of notions about either the constitutional position of Cornwall or the semi-independent realm of Cornwall or the monarchical powers and status of the duke or any medieval retrospective.

This was followed up on 1 March with a similar question to the ministry of justice about the Coroners and Justice Act 2009: the basis of consultation and whether any amendments were made in consequence.

This time the answer from the government was very brief and I think unacceptably dismissive: “We do not disclose the contents of correspondence with members of the Royal Family or the Royal Household” [Hansard 1 March 2011 c400W]. I suppose that had the ministry given a fuller answer it would have been very similar to that from DEFRA.

Addendum 11 March 2011
More of the same on the Children’s Rights bill, Hansard 10 March 2011 column 1228W

crambe repetita (cold cabbage warmed up, tedious repetition): Juvenal Satires 7.154

Other posts

Cornwall today 11 April 2007

Cornwall is part of England – and staying put 9 October 2008

Who owns the Cornwall foreshore? 11 February 2009

Duchy of Cornwall 20 November 2010

Government: Cornwall is part of England 12 January 2011