Despite being barely a week old, Prince George of Cambridge is already in the centre of an ancient political debate following an outburst from the chairman of the pro-independence referendum campaign in Scotland.
Will George be King of Scotland?
Labour MP Dennis Canavan, who chairs the ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign has said that the prospect of the infant one-day being head of state of a separate Scotland would be “an affront to democracy and a complete anachronism”.
A critic of hereditary monarch, Canavan's views sits in contrast with SNP leader Alec Salmond who has publically stated that separation would not lead to the abolition of the Queen’s role as head of state, despite pressure from ‘Yes Scotland’ campaigners who have called for a second referendum to decide the future role of the British monarch in an independent Scotland.
Speaking to The Scotsman, Canavan said: “As to the possibility of another King George, it is important to remember that true democracy is based on the sovereignty of the people rather than the sovereignty of any monarch,” adding: “In an independent Scotland, the people of Scotland should therefore be given an early opportunity to decide whether they want to retain the monarchy or choose an elected head of state.”
Following the Labour MP's comments, an SNP spokesman said: "The policy of the SNP and Scottish Government is clear that the Queen will be head of state in an independent Scotland, as part of a continuing social union with the rest of the UK - that will be the position if Scotland votes Yes, and indeed all of the main parties in Scotland support the Queen as our head of state.
"Dennis Canavan is perfectly entitled to believe in an elected head of state, and will be free to argue that case in an independent Scotland - just as Labour MPs who support an elected head of state in the UK argue for that position at present."
The deputy leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Jackson Carlaw, was equally dismissive. He said: "I believe the overwhelming majority of Scots support the monarchy just as people do across the UK and just as there, this support has grown stronger in recent years. Making the future of the monarchy a central theme of the independence referendum seems to me to be foolhardy."
A spokesman for Yes Scotland said their campaign was "a broad church with many different views including those that are for a monarchy and those that are not".
Dennis Canavan: 'An affront to democracy'
The monarchies of England and Scotland were officially merged in 1603 with the accession of James I (James VI in Scotland), and despite a groundswell of anti-royal sentiment forming around the push for independence, polls show that the majority of Scots would like to retain the House of Windsor as head of state.
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