Majority of Lib Dem members back monarchy – but 40% would prefer UK to become a Republic

by Stephen Tall on July 28, 2013

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

44% want Charles as King, 9% prefer Wills: 40% want neither

Thinking about the future monarch, which of the following would you prefer?
Prince Charles - Some rights reserved by University Hospitals Birmingham

    44% – Prince Charles should succeed as King after Queen Elizabeth II

    9% – Prince William should succeed as King after Queen Elizabeth II instead of Prince Charles

    40% – Neither – there should be no monarch after Queen Elizabeth II

    6% – Don’t know

By 53% to 40%, our sample of Lib Dem members opt for monarchy over a republic. As ever, though, those headline figures include a span of opinion revealed in the comments.

I think it’s fair to say that, in the main, there’s not much evident enthusiasm for the institution of monarchy: many of those who want to see Charles crowned view a constitutional monarchy as a preferable alternative to an elected president. Others take the view that it’s largely an irrelevant sideshow, not worth arguing about.

There’s relatively little support for skipping a generation to William, with a number of commenters observing that the point of a monarch is you don’t get to choose.

However, there is a large minority, 4-in-10 of those who responded, who are republicans — though even among this group most seemed to accept that (or be resigned to) public backing for the monarchy means this isn’t worth a big political battle.

Here’s a selection of your comments…

The monarchy does no harm and is part of being British. Having a King is very popular even if it undemocratic

I believe the Queen should retire soon like Queen Beatrice and hand over to Charles. William will be a fine King later on, but he needs time as a private individual with a young family first. Once the precedent of sovereign retiring has been established, Charles can step down in favour of William at the right time.

What a stupid question.

In principle I don’t think inheriting the status of head state is right or fair. However, there are much bigger issues to deal with. I do think the Royal Family do a good job. If we were ever to change the system we’d need to think very carefully before introducing a system, such as America’s, where the head of state can’t get things past congress.

I’m a instinctive republican, but accept that there remains a majority in favour. As such, I don’t accept option 3 as realistic. However, if you are in favour of the monarchy then Prince Charles MUST succeed as King. If you jump to Prince William then the baby has been flung out with the bathwater.

Our monarch is a figurehead and a net gain for british coffers. I’m not a royalist, but it is part of our history and there are more important reforms to the democratic side of our government that need to happen first.

We need to modernise our monarchy. passing the baton to a younger generation would help to achieve it.

Oh, please, can we not waste time on more constitutional navel-gazing. If we can’t get Lords reform or PR in elections, who cares what we think about Royal succession?

Hooray! The question of whether we should have a monarchy at all is FINALLY in the public domain. I don’t expect to see a republic in my life time, but there’s hope for the future at last.

Not a great fan of the royal family but prefer a non-executive head of state so present system as good as any. would strongly oppose an elected head of state with executive powers.

I really don’t care very much, but ‘don’t care’ isn’t an answer choice. I support the monarchy as it is today. But I don’t mind who comes next. Why would we skip Charles?

I’d prefer no monarchy, but if there is one it as to be Charles who succeeds. The whole point of a monarchy is that you get pot luck through a hereditary system. If you start choosing you may as well have a republic.

My heart is republican and my head monarchist. As long as we have a constitutional monarch, succession should follow the general law of inheritance. Coronation by crowd-appeal is as dangerous as law by referendum.

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with LibDemVoice.org. Just over 600 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 19th and 23rd July.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However, LibDemVoice.org’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
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  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.