Prince Charles has been receiving confidential cabinet papers for decades, giving him privileged access to confidential and market sensitive information.
The revelation that the heir to throne is routinely sent confidential papers follows a three-year freedom of information battle
The Independent reports: It follows the disclosure that the heir to the throne has regularly lobbied ministers over pet subjects including homeopathy, architecture, rainforests, rural housing and military spending.
(Prince Charles dodges questions on Black Spider)
The campaign group Republic, which obtained the information, called for the “quite extraordinary and completely unacceptable” practice to be scrapped. It wrote to David Cameron demanding that the prince be removed from the circulation list for the papers, which would normally be kept secret for 20 years.
The Cabinet Office had resisted the release of the so-called “precedent book”, which details the inner workings of the Government, but was ordered by a freedom of information tribunal to publish several parts.
One section of the book, drawn up in 1992, reads: “The documents of the cabinet and ministerial committees are issued primarily to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and ministers… The need for secrecy calls for special care in circulation and handling.
“The standard circulation for cabinet memoranda includes the Queen, the Prince of Wales, all members of the cabinet, any other ministers in charge of departments, the attorney general and the chief whip… Ministers of state and junior ministers do not normally receive memoranda.”
The revelation follows the release in May, following another FoI battle, of the so-called “black spider memos” sent by the Prince to ministers over several years. Twenty-seven letters – 10 from Charles to ministers, 14 by ministers and three letters between private secretaries – written between September 2004 and March 2005 were published.
In its letter last night to Mr Cameron, Republic said: “The fact that… Charles has privileged access to Cabinet papers is a further cause for concern as it means he is able to lobby ministers in secret at every stage of policy development process.
“It is plainly wrong Charles can lobby on new policy proposals even before the public are aware of the existence of such proposals. Cabinet papers will include market-sensitive information that would enable a person in possession of the information to use it to further their own financial interests.”