BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK Politics
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Friday, 4 August, 2000, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Mowlam backs debate on republic
royals on balcony
The comments came on the Queen Mother's birthday
Cabinet Office Minister Mo Mowlam has risked sparking fresh controversy over the Royal Family by backing calls for a public debate on whether Britain should become a republic.

Ms Mowlam said the debate should be led by the press and public.

That is a debate for the people of the country to have

Mo Mowlam
Her comments were published as huge celebrations were taking place for the Queen Mother's 100th birthday.

Two months ago, Ms Mowlam was forced to apologise when she caused fury by suggesting that the Royal Family move into a new palace.

She had suggested that old palaces be used as public museums and galleries.

Her fresh remarks came in an interview with the left-wing New Statesman magazine.

Hopes on media

The former Northern Ireland Secretary avoided a direct challenge to monarchy, saying she did not want to hurt individual members.

Mo Mowlam
Mo Mowlam was forced to apologise earlier this year
But she suggested that others should re-examine their role.

The magazine carried a series of articles headed Long Live The Republic.

Interviewer Mary Riddell said that the magazine had begun to ask whether the monarchy should be jettisoned in favour of a republic and asked Ms Mowlam whether she agreed such a debate should take place.

Ms Mowlam replied: "Well, I hope the media do have it. But it shouldn't be up to a member of the cabinet to lead it. It should be something the press and public do. Yes."

Asked whether there should be a "full-out discussion forum" on a republic, she said: "You are trying to get me to give a comment on republicanism. That is not for me to dictate. That is a debate for the people of the country to have."

Senior politicians never normally say anything controversial about the royals.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

04 Aug 00 | UK
Crowds acclaim Queen Mother
28 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Mowlam 'sorry' for royal remarks
27 Jun 00 | UK
Home fit for a queen
06 Nov 99 | UK
Queen pledges to carry on
04 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Off with her head
06 Oct 99 | Northern Ireland
Mowlam 'more influential' than Queen
27 Jun 00 | UK
Queen's fistful of palaces
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK Politics stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK Politics stories