MP Questions Political Influence By Duchy Of Cornwall

Hugh House, the offices of the Duchy of Cornwall

Scilly’s MP has brought the debate over the Duchy of Cornwall’s political influence to the front page of the Guardian today.

Andrew George asked the Education Minister, Sarah Teather, if the Duchy had been consulted over the Childrens’ Rights Bill.

Andrew also asked the Justice Minister, Crispin Blunt, whether the Duchy had amended the Coroners and Justice Act.

In both instances, the MP was informed that the Government won’t comment on what was said, but there had been discussions.

“If Princes and paupers are to live as equals in a modern Britain, anyone who enjoys exceptional influence or veto should exercise it with complete transparency,” said Mr George, who is MP for West Cornwall and the Scillies, where the Duchy owns thousands of acres of land as well as islands and homes.

“The Duchy asserts that it is merely a private estate. But my constituents were astonished to learn that it appears to have effective powers of veto over the Government, “ added Mr George.

For years, Garrison resident Alan Davis has fought a long campaign to receive clarification over whether the Duchy is a private or public body.

Alan’s Garrison Leasehold Group wants to the right to buy leaseholds. Tenants of private landlords can do this but the Duchy claims an exemption as part of the Crown in this area.

Alan has sent a number of letters to ministers and has filed freedom of information requests in his quest for a definition of the Duchy’s status.

To date, he has not had the position clarified.