SNP MP gets royal role as party votes down fund­ing

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS -

The Queen has made the leader of the SNP in the House of Com­mons one of her most se­nior ad­vis­ers – the day af­ter his party voted in favour of the pub­lic ceas­ing to pay her wages.

Ian Black­ford was sworn in as a mem­ber of “Her Majesty’s Most Hon­ourable Privy Coun­cil” in a pri­vate cer­e­mony at Buck­ing­ham Palace on Wed­nes­day. This en­ti­tles him to use the pre­fix “The Right Hon­ourable” for the rest of his life.

Es­tab­lished in 1708, the Privy Coun­cil is the for­mal body of “ad­vis­ers to the Sov­er­eign of the United King­dom” and is mainly com­prised of se­nior politi­cians, civil ser­vants and other prom­i­nent ci­ti­zens.

Mr Black­ford be­came the SNP’s West­min­ster leader fol­low­ing the June gen­eral elec­tion and the de­feat of An­gus Robert­son, who is also a privy coun­cil­lor, as is first min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon.

On Tues­day, the SNP con­fer­ence in Glas­gow voted over­whelm­ingly to stop the pub­lic fund­ing of the Queen and Royal Fam­ily through the re­peal of the Sov­er­eign Grant Act which re­placed the Civil List in 2011 and which pays the Queen through prof­its from the Crown Es­tate. The lat­ter in­cludes around £272mil­lion of prop­erty in Scot­land. Julie Hep­burn, the SNP’s po­lit­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion con­venor, claimed the ar­range­ment, whereby it re­ceived £7mil­lion last year, was akin to the Royal Fam­ily “win­ning the lot­tery ev­ery sin­gle year”.

Mr Black­ford was not present at the Glas­gow con­fer­ence for the vote on the royal fi­nances which, in any case, will cause no problems for Buck­ing­ham Palace, as the is­sue is re­served to West­min­ster.

Mr Black­ford said of his ap­point­ment: “I have great re­spect for the monar­chy and it was an hon­our to be sworn in – I took the oath of al­le­giance in the pres­ence of Her Majesty.”

Ian Black­ford: “hon­our”

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