The Ultimate Test
Despite all those rights, freedoms and protections, established over centuries, today our common laws, rights, freedoms, liberties and customs are being demolished with the speed and thoroughness of a team of statutory bulldozers.
Long ago, Magna Carta dealt with the problem of a sovereign acting above the law. Later, the Declaration of Rights confirmed the estates of the realm and their relationship to one another - a series of checks and balances. Today, that relationship has been seriously undermined. We now have a House of Commons acting above the law, plainly contemptuous of the (remaining) powers of The Queen and the House of Lords.
Such an overwhelming concentration of power in the hands of the executive, especially one with a huge parliamentary majority, means that we are currently faced with an extreme example of what Lord Hailsham famously called “an elective dictatorship”.
Writing of Magna Carta in his History of The English-Speaking Peoples, Winston Churchill said:
“…and when in subsequent ages the state, swollen with its own authority, has attempted to ride roughshod over the rights and liberties of the subject it is to this doctrine that appeal has again and again been made, and never, as yet, without success.”
The Magna Carta Society, and tens of thousands like us, believe the time has come - indeed, it is overdue - to put the great principles and rights enshrined in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights to the test once again.
Eventually, the issue of the EU's right to rule over the UK must be tested in the highest court in the land and - given the speed and comprehensiveness of present EU legislation and its destructiveness - that test must be made as a matter of the highest priority.
Already faced with the most fundamental concerns for the structure and protection of this nation’s constitution it now appears that the battle over the EU has developed a second front - the dismantling of our parliamentary institutions and the most cavalier disregard for our constitution and rights.
Given the extracts above, there is good reason to believe that, under Magna Carta, 25 hereditary peers can convene themselves as a quorum, and sit as a House of Lords, despite the recent passage of a bill purporting to restrict its hereditary numbers.
We have reason to believe that such a quorum can be assembled.
Furthermore, under the terms of Magna Carta, that House has an obligation to hear petitions brought by free men, and take them to The Queen, who - equally - has an obligation to hear them.
That is the ultimate consequence of the unique contract first established with Magna Carta and renewed at each coronation.
To those in government and the judiciary who might try to argue that we no longer have the right of petition and appeal to The Queen, there are serious questions to answer:
When do they claim that right was taken away? By whom? And how? On whose authority? And by what right?
(We believe the last monarch to receive and act on a petition was Queen Victoria, and we can find no evidence of any attempt to prevent or hinder any such petition subsequently. Nor does there appear to be any legislation which attempts to defy the contract made between sovereign and subjects in Magna Carta and the Coronation Oath. We acknowledge that it has become custom in the last few years for petitions to be passed to ministers of the crown for action, but that is not to say that the monarch can no longer act in her own right. Indeed, in current circumstances, the ministers themselves are party to our complaint, and cannot therefore deal with the matters complained of.)
In any case, the sovereign cannot be absolved from her obligations, responsibilities and duties to her subjects, and certainly not on the mere advice of ministers. Otherwise the Coronation Oath would be meaningless.
Which is why we are preparing a petition to be submitted to the hereditary House of Lords for presentation to The Queen, based on the following terms:
“We the undersigned seek to draw attention to and seek redress from the imposition of foreign laws, directives, regulations and judicial decisions by and from the European Union and its institutions, to the detriment and prejudice of your sovereignty and to our rights and freedoms as defined in Magna Carta, the Declaration of Rights, and by the customs of your people, and which you, our sovereign, swore to uphold and preserve inviolate in your Coronation Oath of 1953.”
If Magna Carta stands, we have a right to enter such a petition.
If it does not, this kingdom stands in dire peril, the executive have some momentous questions to answer, and all free men of this kingdom should hear the call.
Whether Magna Carta stands or not, action is needed, and we intend to take it.
The Magna Carta Society