Labour Leadership Candidate Confusion: Abolish The Monarchy, but Make Meghan Markle Queen

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex during Trooping The Colour on the Mall on June 9, 2018 in London, England. The annual ceremony involving over 1400 guardsmen and cavalry, is believed to have first been performed during the reign of King …
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A leading candidate to take the helm of Britain’s drifting left-wing opposition party said she would abolish Britain’s Royal Family — before apparently having a change of heart and remarking she’d like to see U.S. television actress Meghan Markle become the British head of state instead.

Speaking in a televised leadership debate with fellow finalists for the Labour Party top job, Lisa Nandy was invited first to respond to whether the candidates would vote to abolish the monarchy if there was a referendum on the matter. Nandy quickly replied that “I’m a democrat” and consequently she would vote to get rid of the Queen, but appeared to quickly regret her honest answer when both other candidates said they would vote to retain the institution.

Piping up for the last word in a segment where respondents had been chastised by television host Krishnan Guru-Murthy for elaborating during what was supposed to be a quick-fire yes-or-no round of questions, Nandy added paradoxically that despite her desire to abolish the monarchy, “I’d quite like to see Queen Meghan at some point”.

To what extent the quip betrays a lack of understanding of how the monarchy works is unclear — Meghan Markle is not in the line of succession, although her husband is sixth in line after Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince William’s three children. She and Prince Harry have also both been stripped of their working Royal positions and titles this year after deciding to move to Canada and not fulfil their royal duties.

While the abolition of the monarchy is by no means an active political debate in the United Kingdom, where approval for both the institution of having a hereditary head of state, as well as the individuals involved, remains high, the question in the debate comes in the context of the end of the Jeremy Corbyn era, the hard-left leader of the Labour party since 2015.

Mr Corbyn has been a long term opponent of the institution of monarchy and answers to the question may be seen as a yardstick of how far a potential future leader wishes to disassociate themselves with the election-losing positions of the outgoing leader.

 

One candidate who has persistently signalled her intention to carry the flag for Corbynism into the future is Rebecca Long-Bailey. So convinced that the Labour Party lost the 2019 general election, giving Boris Johnson’s Conservatives a landslide win in spite of Labour’s policies and not because of them, in January leaked audio of Long-Bailey remarking that it was “bollocks” the British people had rejected socialism emerged.

She followed up this thread again in the Monday night leader’s debate, telling the host there was not a single part of Corbyn’s last manifesto — on which the party lost the general election — that she would tear up, insisting instead the messaging was wrong. She told the audience: “We’re the party with the policies to make people’s lives better… there’s not one [policy] that I would drop… there’s no such thing as Corbynism, it’s socialism”.

Long-Bailey explained that while some policies in the manifesto were deliverable within a single five-year parliament, others  — such as a four-day working week — would take longer, and said putting it in the manifesto for the election “confused people”.

 

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