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Presented Under Clause 61 of Magna Carta, 1215 | February 2001 

To Defend British Rights and Freedoms


as our humble duty, we draw to Your Majesty’s attention:

1. the loss of our national independence and the erosion of our ancient rights, freedoms and customs since the United Kingdom became a member of the European Economic Community (now the European Union) in 1973; 

2. the terms of the Treaty of Nice, 2000, which, if ratified, will cause significant new losses of national independence, and further imperil the rights and freedoms of the British people, by surrendering powers to the European Union:

a) to enter into international treaties binding on the United Kingdom, without the consent of your Government;

b) to ban political parties, deny free association and restrict the free expression of political opinion;

c) which can be used to introduce an alien system of criminal justice, abolish the ancient British rights of habeas corpus and trial by jury, and allow onto British soil men-at-arms from other countries with powers of enforcement;

d) to create a military force which will place British service personnel under the command of the European Union without reference to British interests, and contrary to:

i) the oath of personal loyalty to the Crown sworn by British forces,

ii) the Queen’s Commission, and

iii) the United Kingdom’s obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation;

e) which remove the United Kingdom’s right to veto decisions not in British interests;

3. the creation by the European Union of a Charter of Fundamental Rights, which purports to give it the power to abolish such “rights” at will;

4. the unlawful use of the Royal Prerogative to

a) suspend or offend against statutes in ways which are prejudicial and detrimental to your sovereignty, contrary to the Coronation Oath Act, 1688;

b) subvert the rights and liberties of your loyal subjects, contrary to the ruling in Nichols v Nichols, 1576;

5. Your Majesty’s power to withhold the Royal Assent, and the precedent set by Queen Anne under a similar threat to the security of the Realm in 1707;

WHEREFORE it is our humble duty TO PETITION Your Majesty

to withhold the Royal Assent from any Parliamentary Bill which attempts to ratify the Treaty of Nice unless and until the people of the United Kingdom have given clear and specific approval;

to uphold and preserve the rights, freedoms and customs of your loyal subjects as set out in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights, which you, our Sovereign, swore before the nation to uphold and preserve in your Coronation Oath of June 1953.

We have the honour to be Your Majesty’s loyal and obedient subjects.




4. The House of Lords Records Office confirmed in writing as recently as last September that Magna Carta, signed by King John in June 1215, stands to this day. Home Secretary Jack Straw said as much on 1 October 2000, when the Human Rights Act came into force. Halsbury’s Laws of England says: “Magna Carta is as binding upon the Crown today as it was the day it was sealed at Runnymede.”

5. Copies of the petition - in calligraphy on vellum - will be available to supporters after the presentation on 7 February. Send a cheque for £25 (which includes postage and packing) to Sanity, 66 Chippingfield, Harlow, Essex, CM17 0DJ. All receipts will go toward defraying costs.

6. The day after the presentation of the petition (8 February) is the start of Her Majesty’s Jubilee Year. The following week marks the anniversaries of the dating (12 February) and signing (13 February) of The Declaration of Rights in 1688.

7. The meeting of peers is being organised by Lord Ashbourne, supported by Lord Sudeley and Lord Massereene & Ferrard acting in his capacity as Lord Oriel since his premier title is Scottish and pre-dates the Act of Union, 1707.

8. The Treaty of Nice signed by the British Government in December 2000 includes:


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