Forsyth Loses His Catholic Monarch Bid; Roman Catholics, Royalty

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Byline: HAMISH MACDONELL

FORMER Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth yesterday failed in a bid to end the 300-year-old ban on Roman Catholics taking the throne.

The former Tory Cabinet Minister was thwarted by the House of Lords who rejected his request to make a formal approach to the Queen to allow Parliament to debate the issue.

The Lords voted by 65 to 14, against Lord Forsyth's motion which would have paved the way for a debate on his proposed Succession to the Crown (Amendment) Bill.

A similar move is due to be debated in the Scottish parliament later this month.

The measure would have amended the 1701 Act of Settlement to allow Catholics either to become the sovereign or marry the sovereign.

At the moment, only protestants are allowed to ascend to the throne by the 18th century law, which even bars those who are married to Catholics from becoming King or Queen.

It prohibits the heir to the throne marrying a Catholic but does not rule out marriage to a member of any other faith. The request for Royal consent for such a backbench Bill to be debated is normally a formality, but peers had obviously decided to stifle Lord Forsyth's attempt right at the start. …