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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 09:35 GMT
'No support' for allegiance oath
Queen Elizabeth

Calls for school-leavers to take part in British citizenship ceremonies would be opposed by the Scottish Government, a minister has said.

Former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith wants youngsters to swear allegiance to Britain and the Queen.

It would mean pupils making a pledge to Queen and country in ceremonies akin to those for new immigrants.

However Scottish enterprise minister Jim Mather said it would not be supported north of the border.

He told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland: "We don't support it and neither do the vast majority of parents, teachers and children in Scotland".

'Own goal'

He said it was not an issue that emerged in the Scottish Government's "national conversation" on the country's future.

"People are hanging together, their loyalty is to each other here in Scotland. Sovereignty still lies with the Scottish people."

He said the Scottish Government would resist the introduction of any such move and added: "I'm sure it would be an own goal for Gordon Brown."

The recommendations are expected to form part of a report by Lord Goldsmith.

His report is also likely to seek to clarify the legal rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship.

Last year, a preliminary report published as part of his review said that schoolchildren should take part in the ceremonies for foreigners taking British nationality.

Lord Goldsmith said: "I think a formal ceremony which marks that passage from being a student, who's learning about the theory, to a citizen, who now is practising the reality of being a citizen, I think that is a useful thing."

The plans have been condemned by republican groups.

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