New royal succession law despite MP's Kaiser warning

The government will push ahead with plans to introduce new legislation on royal succession, despite a warning from a senior Conservative MP.

With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first child due in July, ministers want to scrap the historic rules which favour male heirs to the throne.

Image caption Conservative MP Sir Peter Tapsell warned the Commons not to break with centuries-old tradition

If William and Kate's baby is a girl, she would be expected to become monarch ahead of any younger male siblings.

However, the MP for Louth and Horncastle Sir Peter Tapsell has warned of the dangers of breaking with centuries of tradition.

Speaking in the Commons, the Father of the House said: "But for our law of male primogeniture, the German Kaiser would have become King of England, which would have produced almost as interesting a coalition as the present one."

A quick check on the history books confirms that if the male bias towards royal succession had not been in place a century or so ago, Queen Victoria's daughter - also called Victoria - would have acceded to the throne ahead of her younger brother Edward VII.

Her son became Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

But few MPs share Sir Peter Tapsell's scepticism of what many regard as an historical act of discrimination.

The new bill would also allow the heir to the throne to marry a Catholic.

Following the recent news that all Commonwealth governments had agreed to the change in the law, the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "I'm delighted that all of the Queen's realms have agreed to this historic piece of legislation.

"It will enact in law what we agreed back in 2011 - that if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a baby girl, she can one day be our Queen even if she has younger brothers."

Mr Clegg said the government would introduce the Succession to the Crown Bill to the Commons "as soon as possible".

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