27 March 2015 - Prince Charles's letters to be published
Prince Charles’s ‘particularly frank’ letters can be published
Agencies (The Star)
LONDON — Britain’s Supreme Court Thursday paved the way for the public release of 27 hotly contested memos written by Prince Charles to government ministers.
The government has sought for years to keep the letters out of the public domain for fear that publishing them might damage public perceptions of Charles’ neutrality.
As heir-to-the-throne, Charles is expected to remain out of politics. The letters, said to contain strong personal views, were deemed too sensitive by former Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who vetoed their release in 2012.
An Appeals Court overruled him last year, and now the Supreme Court has upheld that decision.
Conceding defeat, Prime Minister David Cameron said the government will begin preparatory work toward releasing the papers.
“This is a disappointing judgment and we will now consider how to release these letters,” he said.
Chris Green (The Independent)
Dozens of private letters written by Prince Charles to Government ministers containing the future king’s “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” are set to be published within weeks, in the wake of a landmark ruling by the UK’s highest court.
The 27 notes, dubbed the “black spider” memos due to the Prince’s unique style of handwriting, must be released within 30 days after the Supreme Court decided that the Government had no right to veto their publication.
The judgement, which experts said had “far-reaching” implications for ministers wanting to block the release of sensitive material, was met with dismay by both Clarence House and David Cameron, who said Freedom of Information laws may have to be tightened in response.
Rob Evans (The Guardian)
In April 2005, the Guardian submitted a freedom of information request for copies of 27 letters written by the heir to the throne and ministers in seven government departments between September 2004 and April 2005. The government refused to release the letters, arguing that the prince was protected by a constitutional convention. They argued that the letters were part of the prince’s preparations to become king, and he was educating himself in the business of government.
In September 2012, a freedom of information tribunal ruled against the government, saying the public was entitled to know how the prince seeks to alter government policy.
Instead of appealing against the ruling, the government, in the shape of the then attorney general, Dominic Grieve, issued a veto, arguing that publication of the letters would “seriously damage” the prince’s ability to perform his duties. The Guardian challenged this veto, and the supreme court ruled on Thursday that Grieve’s actions had no basis in law.
Freedom of information
Jenny Gross (The Wall Street Journal)
A spokeswoman for Clarence House, the official London residence of Prince Charles, said the decision was a matter for the government, but that it was “disappointed the principle of privacy has not been upheld.”
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron also weighed in to the debate. “This is about the principle that senior members of the Royal Family are able to express their views to government confidentially,” Mr. Cameron said in a statement after the ruling. “I think most people would agree this is fair enough.”
The prime minister said the U.K.’s Freedom of Information laws include the option of a government veto, which the government had used for a reason. He said that if the veto legislation doesn’t make parliament’s intentions for a veto clear enough, it will need to be made clearer.
Freedom of Information laws give anyone living in the U.K. the right to apply to public authorities for information held by those authorities.
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"27 March 2015 - Prince Charles's letters to be published", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mars 2015. Consulté le 28/11/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2015/27-march-2015-prince-charles-s-letters-to-be-published