Suite 14040

145-157 St John Street
London EC1V 4PY












Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP
Deputy Prime Minister
70 Whitehall
London, SW1A 2AS


2
nd
March 2011


Dear Nick

We welcome your government's stated commitment to increasing openness and transparency in politics
and note that your Protection of Freedoms Bill, which recently begun its passage through parliament,
contains a number of provisions to this effect. Specifically, it plans to extend the scope of the Freedom of
Information Act.

However, we are concerned that you have overlooked a glaring anomaly, namely the continued
exemption of the royal household from freedom of information laws - an exemption recently made
absolute.

The Protection of Freedoms Bill is an ideal opportunity to reverse this exemption and to define the royal
household for the first time as a public authority within the terms of the Act.

By addressing this issue and bringing the monarchy and royal household fully into the scope of the Act
you will send a powerful message to the country about how serious your commitment to transparency is.
You will make clear that no public official, elected or otherwise, is beyond the scrutiny of the British
people, and that citizens of this country have a right to know in whose interests and for what reasons
government decisions are being made.

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I(cn:pc(ency Ic eve(y c(ec cf puL|ic |ife". Ihe :cme cc(eemenI :cy:: ¨We wi|| exIenc Ihe :ccpe cf Ihe
Freedom of Information Act to provide greater transparency". Ihe ccve(nmenI hc: c|:c :IcIec IhcI iI
neec: Ic ¨Ih(cw cpen Ihe ccc(: cf puL|ic Lccie:. Ic encL|e Ihe puL|ic Ic hc|c pc|iIicicn: cnc puL|ic
Lccie: Ic ccccunI".

This is not simply about the royal household's use of public funds - it is a serious issue of accountability and
transparency that goes to the heart of government. It is well documented, and admitted by Clarence
House, that the Prince of Wales routinely lobbies government ministers on a wide range of controversial
and deeply political matters such as the environment, education and health.

The current lack of scrutiny over such actions means that citizens have no means by which to judge if
ministers are taking decisions according to the public interest or to suit the interests and agenda of the
heir to the throne.

The Ministry of Justice has previously stated that safeguards within the Act were "insufficiently robust to
protect our current constitutional arrangements". The absolutely water-tight block on all royal freedom of







information requests is apparently designed "to ensure that our information access arrangements allow
essential constitutional relationships and conventions to be preserved".

If our constitution requires absolute state secrecy surrounding our head of state then that it is an
argument for a new constitution.

Furthermore the government has previously justified royal secrecy by asserting the importance of
maintaining the appearance of impartiality on the part of the monarch and heir to the throne. But the
monarch and heir are required to be impartial in fact and not just in appearance.

If the monarch or heir has surrendered their impartiality, as Prince Charles most clearly has, then the
justification for secrecy is no longer valid. It is vital in a democracy that citizens can judge for themselves
whether their public representatives are adhering to their constitutional obligations, rather than be
expected to take the word of those very same representatives.

We urge you to add to the Protection of Freedoms Bill amendments that would bring the royal household
and the monarchy fully within the scope of the Act. To choose to continue the regime of secrecy
surrounding the monarchy would not only represent a profound missed opportunity, it would also call into
question your personal and political commitment to accountability.

We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you at your earliest convenience to press our case.

Yours sincerely




Graham Smith, Executive Officer, Republic
Heather Brooke, author and Freedom of information Campaigner
Professor Roy Greenslade, Department of Journalism, City University and former editor of the Mirror
Cllr. Mike Harris, Head of Public Affairs, Index on Censorship
Professor Stephen Haseler, Director, Reform Foundation
Professor Adam Tomkins, John Millar Professor of Public Law