Scrap Privy Council, says Lord Prescott


Former Labour party deputy leader John Prescott has called for the Privy Council to be scrapped.

Lord Prescott said the continuation of the Privy Council - the historic body which formally advises to the monarch - was undemocratic and should be abolished.

His comments came amid continued criticism of new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for agreeing to become a privy counsellor despite being an ardent republican.

Opponents have said that it was hypocritical for Mr Corbyn to agree when becoming a member requires swearing an oath of allegiance to the Queen and kissing her hand.

Lord Prescott, who once turned down membership, disclosed that the ceremony did not involve kneeling before the monarch, as some reports have suggested, but hopping between two chairs.

"Every person's on about kneeling. You don't do that. You hop. Get into hopping. You hop from one chair to another and brush your lips lightly across her hand," he told BBC1's Sunday Politics.

Lord Prescott said he was originally offered a place on the Privy Council by the then prime minister, Sir John Major, after he became Labour deputy leader in 1993 but had turned it down as he did not want to undergo the joining ceremony.

However he changed his mind after he was told that he would not get the same security briefings as Tony Blair who had become a privy counsellor.

"When I said 'no' and they told me I couldn't have the information that Blair gets I wasn't very happy about that," he said.

"So I went up and I looked and they had two chairs and for one reason or another you go from one chair to the other. I think that's ridiculous, I don't think it is democratic, I think we should bloody well get rid of it.

"It is no offence to the Queen because a lot of people have a lot of respect for the Queen but all that monarchy nonsense established by the establishment themselves - scrap it."