Succession to the Crown Bill — Third Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 22nd April 2013.

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Photo of Lord Wallace of Tankerness Lord Wallace of Tankerness Lords Spokesperson (Attorney General's Office), The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Scotland Office) 4:00 pm, 22nd April 2013

My Lords, I indicated on Report that I will report to the House once the necessary steps in each realm have been completed and we are in a position to commence the legislation simultaneously, and I reiterate that commitment. As it may be of interest to your Lordships, I can inform the House that since our debate on Report, Royal Assent was given to the Canadian Succession to the Throne Act on 27 March. We received confirmation from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda that, based on the nature of their constitution, they will not need to legislate to give the changes effect, and that the Council of Australian Governments agreed on 19 April, last Friday, to a process to change their laws.

As I have indicated on a number of occasions, the provisions in this Bill have been carefully worked out in agreement with the realms, and it is important that we now proceed to pass this Bill and show that we have been able to fulfil the task asked of us by the realm Prime Ministers in Perth in 2001. It is an important piece of legislation that has its roots in securing better equality, and certainly we await with great expectation the birth of a child to their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. We wish them every health, in particular the Duchess as she proceeds towards the birth of her child. In doing so, we know that if this Bill passes, and if the required processes take place in the other realms, that child, irrespective of whether it is a boy or a girl, will take its place in line to the throne ahead of any subsequent siblings. Therefore, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.