Will John McDonnell kneel before the Queen when he joins the Privy Council?

30th September, 2016 1:14 pm

John McDonnell red flag

John McDonnell is set to join the Privy Council, triggering a media storm about whether the avowed republican will kneel before the Queen.

There was a similar furore a year ago, when Jeremy Corbyn was preparing to swear in and take the Right Honourable title – with David Cameron using a speech to brand the Labour leader “Britain hating”.

McDonnell’s team say the Shadow Chancellor will “adhere to any procedures asked of him” as part of the ceremony to join the Privy Council, although he has not yet been informed of any “specific ceremonial requirements”.

This appears to be a neat way of sidestepping any problems arising out of kneeling before the monarch. Sources tell LabourList that the need to kneel is a “myth”, that it is now common because people have chosen to do it, and that McDonnell is unlikely to be asked genuflect. It has also been suggested that it is not even an imperative for the Queen to attend.

McDonnell is expected to swear the oath next month, although though no date has yet been set.

A spokesperson for McDonnell said today: “There is no specific ceremonial requirements we have been informed of, but as John has already said when inquiries were made on this earlier in the year, he will adhere to any procedures asked of him as being a member of the Privy Council.”

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