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EDITIONS
Monday, 18 September, 2000, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Queen 'should not be head of church'
Archbishop Carey and Prince Charles
Will Prince Charles head the church?
The Liberal Democrats have voted overwhelmingly in favour of ending the Queen's right to be head of the Church of England.

The present heir to the throne said he wished to be the defender of all faiths

I think that is the attitude we want from an heir to the throne


Baroness Thomas
Delegates to the party conference in Bournemouth decided that the British head of state should "be barred from holding a position of high authority within any denomination, church or faith".

Delegates also backed the right of the heir to the throne to marry a Catholic.

Liberal Democrat Youth and Students representative Alex Feakes argued against "the anomalous position of our head of state automatically being the head of the church".

Mr Feakes said the anomaly was offensive to people of other faiths such as Jews, Muslims and Hindus and also to Christians who were not members of the Anglican church.

"To them, this arrangement does not represent the facts on the ground.

"There are many people in this country who do not identify with the Queen as head of state presumably because to them she automatically represents a different church from their own."

Mr Feakes was at pains to point out that his support for the motion did not mean he was a republican.

'No bone to pick with Queen'

He said: "Don't get me wrong, I've no bone to pick with the Queen... but she does not, in her role as head of the Church of England, represent the millions of people from Muslim, Hindu or Jewish backgrounds in this country, let alone those who have different Christian denominations or faiths."

Backing the motion, Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Thomas said the time had come for the succession to the throne to be free of religious qualification.

"The present heir to the throne said he wished to be the defender of all faiths," she said.

"I think that is the attitude we want from an heir to the throne."


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04 Aug 00 | Politics
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