•In 1993 the Conservative government of John Major made us all citizens of the European Union under the Treaty on European Union – the Maastricht Treaty.
Article 8 provided for this as follows: 1. Citizenship of the Union is hereby established. Every person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. 2. Every citizen of the Union shall enjoy the rights conferred by this Treaty and shall be subject to the duties imposed thereby.
My dictionary’s definition of a citizen is: ‘A native or naturalised member of a state or nation’; citizenship is defined as ‘the condition or status of a citizen, with its rights and duties’. Therefore by any normal understanding of the words used, the conveying of citizenship by the Treaty created, de facto, a new political state known as The Union. Whether this was legal under the English constitution is another matter; but what was the Government’s understanding of the status of our Head of State?
I immediately wrote to the Minister responsible, Tristan Garel-Jones, asking him if Her Majesty had indeed been made a citizen of the EU. Unsurprisingly I did not receive a reply. I then took the matter up with Labour MP Austin Mitchell who wrote to the Minister on my behalf – he was obliged to reply to an MP – and Mr Mitchell duly received the confirmation that yes, Her Majesty the Queen had indeed been made a citizen of the European Union.
How could it be that our Sovereign could so easily be made a citizen of somewhere else? The legal foundations of English Constitution set out the separate legal personalities of Sovereign and Subject. Almost 1,000 years of constitutional development has meant that the duties and responsibilities of both parties were legally defined under Common Law and provisions such as Magna Carta, The Bill of Rights, and the Coronation Oath. Prior to joining the European Economic Community in 1973, we lived under a democratic Constitutional Monarchy where the Sovereign had for centuries been obliged to rule under the law.
In 1983, under the Tory Government, The British Nationality Act (1981) came into force; and (barring some particular cases) the status of subject was effectively removed and replaced by citizenship.
Therefore in 1993 the status of citizenship enabled all UK citizens to be transferred en-masse and without their consent to citizenship of the European Union. All UK nationals were made citizens of the EU: the Queen is a UK national and was therefore included.
Recently Lord Stoddart of Swindon, the Independent Labour Peer posed a written question to the Government asking how EU citizenship might be renounced. The Minister of State, Lord Henley, replied, “Under the Maastricht Treaty, every citizen who is a national of a Member State is also a citizen of the Union. A UK national, as defined above, who renounced that status and did not have the nationality of another member state would cease to be a European citizen. It is not possible, however, to renounce European citizenship while remaining a UK national”.
Lord Stoddart commented, “Now we know that renouncing EU citizenship means becoming a stateless non-person under international law.”
Under the Bill of Rights 1689, by constitutional right of which the Queen holds her position, she undertakes, “And I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm. So help me God.” Strange then that our ‘Sovereign Lady the Queen’ is now a citizen of another state; ‘subject to the duties imposed thereby’; and cannot renounce its citizenship without renouncing her birth-right of over 1,500 years to English nationality, and thereby making herself a stateless person.
The Queen could have refused Royal Assent to any one of these Treaties on the basis that she has a legally enshrined constitutional obligation and duty not to accept unconstitutional advice. It seems that her position of Constitutional Head of State has degenerated into that of Glove Puppet of the European Union. The nation has just celebrated 60 years of the Queen’s reign. What were we supposed to be celebrating exactly?