London: It has emerged that the Queen’s head would soon disappear from British stamps if the government goes ahead with its controversial plan to sell off the Royal Mail.
Postal Affairs Minister Ed Davey said the proposed sell-off rules will let future private owners, including German mail operator Deutsche Post, to stop using a representation of the monarch``s head that has appeared on every British postage stamp since Sir Rowland Hill invented them in 1840, reports the Daily Mail.
Ministers are now locked in frantic talks with Buckingham Palace officials to discuss how the Queen will be represented – if at all – on future stamps if a legislation to privatise the Royal Mail is passed in Parliament.
Liberal Democrat MP Davey, however, insisted he was ‘aware of the issue’ and revealed that negotiations with Palace officials to close the loophole were under way.
Royal insiders said there were ‘anger’ at the Palace over the omission and said it could try to delay the legislation until after the Queen``s 2012 Diamond Jubilee, when a range of special stamps are expected to be produced.
“The Palace don’t like this privatisation at all but they are particularly keen to delay it until after the Jubilee if they possibly can,” said an insider.
Ministers have failed to include a provision in the Postal Services Bill, designed to raise 8 billion pounds for the cash-strapped government, ensuring that the Queen’s head retains its historic position on British stamps – either in a full profile of the monarch or a small silhouette in the top corner of themed stamps.
The glaring omission came to light after a senior Government source told The Mail that ‘technically, future private owners would be able to chop the Queen’s head off stamps’.
He said that because there was currently no legal requirement on the publicly run Royal Mail to use the symbol, officials had forgotten to include the provision in the privatisation legislation.