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Anti-Catholic royal marriage rules "breach European law"

19 January 2010

Westminster's Human Rights Joint Committee has concluded that the rules governing royal marriages and the succession to the UK throne breach the European Convention on Human Rights.

In a report on the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, the cross-party committee of MPs and peers said that laws barring members of the Royal Family from marrying Roman Catholics were contrary to the Convention, while the rule that male heirs take precedence over older sisters in the line of succession was "arguably" also a breach.

It urged the Government to adopt proposals put forward by Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris to remove religious discrimination against Catholics in relation to royal marriages and discrimination against women in relation to the succession.

The Prime Minister has previously promised to remove the discrimination, while pointing out the complexities involved as the agreement of member countries of the Commonwealth is required.

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