Anti-monarchy UK opposition leader joins queen's inner circle

11th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn swore allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday after a debate over whether the left-wing republican would kneel before the monarch.

Normally new members of the queen's Privy Council kneel on a stool and kiss her hand in the induction ceremony into the body of trusted royal counsellors, a centuries-old tradition.

But Corbyn, who supports abolishing the monarchy, wavered over whether or not he would kneel before her when he was asked by a journalist following his election as Labour party leader in September.

On Wednesday a spokesman for the veteran campaigner said he had become a member of the body, which every opposition leader is invited to join.

"He is a member of the Privy Council. He complied with the processes required," Kevin Slocombe told AFP, without specifying whether Corbyn had kneeled or not.

Corbyn had indicated prior to the ceremony that he might be able to skip the traditional kneeling, and British newspapers reported that he had been sworn in without bending the knee.

Since his election as Labour leader the socialist and anti-war campaigner has been under intense scrutiny by right-wing sections of Britain's press over matters of etiquette.

He was lampooned in his first days as leader for not joining in singing the national anthem "God Save the Queen", and made headlines again on Sunday over claims he did not bow down low enough while laying a wreath at a ceremony to commemorate Britain's war dead.

Corbyn said during his leadership campaign that he would not seek to abolish the monarchy as Labour leader due to high public support for the royals.

Like all lawmakers in Britain, he has already sworn allegiance to the queen, but the Privy Council oath is more extensive.

Following the ceremony, Corbyn will now be able to use the title "Right Honourable" and will be present at secret briefings by Britain's security services.

Members have to vow to be a "true and faithful Servant unto The Queen's Majesty" and promise not to reveal confidential information.

There are about 400 members of the council, including religious leaders, and meetings are held roughly once a month.

© 2015 AFP

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