Sturgeon blow as monarchy remains ‘net plus’ for Scotland in UK despite environment row

Royal Family: Expert discusses monarchy's stance on Scotland

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GB News’ Davie Donaldson was asked whether the row surrounding Queen Elizabeth II amending draft Scottish climate change laws so she was exempt from them may be used to fuel independence debates in Scotland. The reporter was asked if the popularity of the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family remains high as he revealed car parks were full of tourists visiting royal residences like in Balmoral and many Scots were receptive to the institution when they carry out engagements in the country. But Mr Donaldson stressed there of course will be those who seek to politically capitalise on the events by pointing out the legislative and parliamentary issues within the United Kingdom.

It was reported the Queen used an old legislative privilege known as “Queen’s Consent” which allows her advanced sight of legislation before it is presented if it is in the interests of the monarch.

In this instance, the proposed Heat Network bill which sought to install pipes across Scotland that would be heated via renewable energy was looked at by the Queen who is also one of the largest landowners in Scotland.

The Queen’s lawyers instructed her lands to be exempt from the rules and her permission must be granted before any land owned by her is modified. 

The Queen has the right to carry out this parliamentary process but critics have called for a change in the rules with SNP and Liberal Democrat MSPs being the most vocal.

The then Energy Minister, Paul Wheelhouse, proposed an amendment to the bill which would prevent private companies from compelling the Queen to sell her land so environmental infrastructure can be built.

However, it was not pointed out the amendment was down to the Queen’s lobbying.

Mr Donaldson addressed the story and was asked whether it would affect her standing in Scotland and if she remained a “net plus”.

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He explained: “Having the Queen here quite regular for certainly is a major hand in stopping [independence] happening.

“It’s very much a sort of feather in the cap for that camp, having the royals here and on a regular basis.

“Of course, Prince William went to St Andrew’s University so he has a great love for Scotland as well so you can understand that’s certainly a big marker for them.

“But obviously the people against it, not so keen on the royals.

“I’ll be honest, they’re not popular across the whole of Scotland that’s for sure… it’s very much a split camp across the country.”

Mr Donaldson added Alba Party leader Alex Salmond has historically attacked the Royal Family for wading into Scottish politics as SNP politicians appear to be opposed to the institution. 

Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie has also attacked the Royal Family, especially in light of the Queen’s climate change involvement, and said lobbying from the palace should have been declared when the bill was being debated.

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He said: “This research shows that Queen’s consent isn’t just some arcane legacy from parliament’s past, it’s a live process.

“Laws are secretly being changed behind Scotland’s back as a result.”

The Scottish Green Party also attacked the Queen for avoiding the climate change law. 

They said in a statement: “For the Monarchy to use their position and access to secretly lobby for changes in legislation that directly benefit their own private interests is an affront to democracy.”

Prince Charles visited Scotland ahead of the news breaking and met with volunteers who were cleaning beaches in Caithness.

The Prince of Wales was told over 31 tonnes of rubbish have been cleaned up from the beaches since the Caithness Beach Clean Group first started.

The Queen visited First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the end of June as part of a four-day trip across the country. 

Ms Sturgeon was called out during the meeting as she refused to curtsy for the monarch when they met face-to-face. 

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