London: An Indian-origin Labour MP wants a
change in law governing succession to the British throne to
remove the distinction between a son and daughter before the
April wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Under current law, females are superseded in the line of
succession to the throne by younger male siblings.
Labour MP Keith Vaz wants a repeal of existing law "to
remove any distinction between the sexes in determining the
succession of the throne".
His efforts have won much support in Leicester, from
where he is an MP, but authorities in London have indicated
that such a change in law may be difficult to implement.
If William and Kate`s first-born is a girl, she would not
be first in line to become the monarch if they later went on
to have a son.
Vaz, who is chairman of Home Affairs Select Committee,
believes the current law privileging the son is outdated.
"The law was outdated in the 21st century, where people
expect that discrimination of any kind should not exist and
there should be equality regardless of race, gender or
religion," he said.
"Some of the United Kingdom`s most successful monarchs
have been women, no-one less than our present Queen, Elizabeth
II. If the current succession laws did not exist, Princess
Anne would be fourth in line to the throne rather than 10th,
while her daughter, Zara, would be sixth in line rather than
12th," he said.
In a poll conducted by Leicester Mercury, a leading
regional daily, more than two-thirds of readers agreed with
Vaz and said there should be a change in the law governing
succession to the throne.
Vaz argued in the House of Commons this week that rules
should be brought in giving female children equal status.
"With the marriage of Prince William and Katherine
Middleton, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to
change the law. Prince William looks like a very modern
prince. If he has a daughter first, it is only right that she
becomes queen," he said.
But Constitutional Affairs Minister Mark Harper suggested
changes would have to be dealt with alongside other
"It`s not as straightforward a process as some who would
wish it to move more quickly might think," he said.