Media Coverage


  1. Peers use Magna Carta to oppose EU charter

By Sarah Womack, Political Correspondent 12:00AM GMT 07 Feb 2001

A GROUP of peers will today use ancient rights granted under Magna Carta to urge the Queen to block further European integration.

Their petition, presented under Clause 61 of the ancient charter, asks the Queen to withhold Royal Assent from the Nice Treaty. It has the backing of 65 Euro-sceptic peers led by Lord Ashbourne and has been organised by Sanity (Subjects against the Nice Treaty).

Clause 61 of Magna Carta, signed by King John at Runnymede in June 1215, permits the “Sovereign’s subjects to present a quorum of 25 barons with a petition which four of their number are then obliged to take to the Monarch who is obliged to accept it. She then has 40 days to respond.” The “enforcement powers” granted by King John when he signed the Magna Carta were last used in 1688 at the start of the Glorious Revolution.

Lord Ashbourne, a Conservative hereditary peer ousted from the Lords under Tony Blair’s reforms, said: “These rights may not have been exercised for 300 years but only because they were not needed. Well, we need them now. They may be a little dusty but they are in good order.”;



  1. Peers petition Queen on Europe

The evidence below has long been shared as a text file or PDF, grabbed from the Telegraph website. We felt it was time to replace this with prima facie evidence – photographic evidence from an original publication, so for those who need it, the link below provides a scanned image from page 16 of the 24 March 2001 Telegraph, along with a certificate of authenticity.


By Caroline Davies 12:00AM GMT 24 Mar 2001

FOUR peers invoked ancient rights under the Magna Carta yesterday to petition the Queen to block closer integration with Europe.

The Duke of Rutland, Viscount Masserene and Ferrard, Lord Hamilton of Dalzell and Lord Ashbourne were imbued with the spirit of the ancient Charter, thrust on King John in 1215. In accordance with the Charter’s Clause 61, the famous enforcement clause, the four presented a vellum parchment at Buckingham Palace, declaring that the ancient rights and freedoms of the British people had to be defended.

The clause, one of the most important in the Charter, which was pressed on King John at Runnymede, allows subjects of the realm to present a quorum of 25 barons with a petition, which four of their number then have to take to the Monarch, who must accept it. It was last used in 1688 at the start of the Glorious Revolution.

The four peers, who were all thrown out of Parliament in November 1999, proved they had that quorum by presenting Sir Robin Janvrin, the Queen’s private secretary, with the petition signed by 28 hereditaries and letters of support from another 60. In addition, they claim the support of thousands of members of the public.

They say that several articles in the Treaty of Nice agreed by Tony Blair in December will destroy fundamental British liberties. The Queen has 40 days to respond. Under the Magna Carta’s provisions, if the Sovereign does not observe the Charter the people may rise up and wage war on her, seizing castles, lands and possessions until they have redress;


Magna Carta Society Research Paper proving the invocation of Article 61;
3.  Magna Carta to be used against Nice Treaty

For the first time in 300 years, the ancient rights of the British Magna Carta are to be invoked again, this time in response to the Treaty of Nice.

A Euro sceptical movement in England called SANITY, Subjects Against the Nice Treaty, has drawn up a people’s petition asking Her Majesty The Queen of England to withhold the Royal Assent from the Nice Treaty.

The Magna Carta (the Great Charter) was issued by King John of England in 1215 in order to grant greater freedom to the citizens of England. The rights of the Magna Carta were last invoked in 1688 against King James II after he had failed to re-establish Roman Catholicism in England and lost the confidence of the people.

Clause 61 of the Magna Carta permits the Sovereign’s subjects to present a quorum of 25 barons with a petition which four of their number are then obliged to take to the monarch, who is equally obliged to accept it. The monarch then has forty days to respond. SANITY are encouraging as many members of the British public as possible to voice their objection to the Treaty of Nice by signing the petition.

A press spokesman for SANITY told the EUobserver.com that the Magna Carter is a contract between the Sovereign and the people. “It is not a statute and therefore cannot be repealed,” he said. “It is outside the reach of parliament.” SANITY refused to comment on what will happen after the petition has been delivered to the Queen. Many people, though, are doubtful that the petition will have much of an effect. “For a petition to work in this country, you need at least a million signatures, not just thousands,” one prominent lord told the EUobserver.com.

A spokesman for European Movement, Britain’s leading pro-European membership organisation, dismissed the petition as “nonsense”.

Lord Ashbourne, supported by Lord Sudeley and Lord Massereene & Ferrard are organising a meeting of 25 peers, who will be presented with the petition.

Lord Ashbourne said to the EUobserver.com about his involvement in the movement: “Clearly a large number of citizens are extremely concerned about the powers that are being ceded to Brussels by the Nice Treaty.” He then went on to name three elements that are causing particular offence: “the ability of the EU to blacklist political parties that do not tow the EU line; the formation of the Rapid Reaction Force where we could find British troops fighting for the EU interest rather than the British interest and not under direct control of Her Majesty’s government; and the he legal implications of ‘corpus juris’ being accepted rather than the British system of ‘habeas corpus’ whereby one is presumed innocent until proven guilty”.

The petition will be presented to 25 peers of the Realm meeting at the Palace of Westminister on Wednesday 7 February 2001. There is no set date for when the petition will be delivered to the Queen, but SANITY thinks it will probably be towards the end of February.





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  1. Patrick Chamberlain

    Every day the EU with traitors is edging closer and closer to the destruction of my beloved country & monarchy So with all haste I must find a way of putting legal obstacles in their path with the ultimate aim of defeating a EU take over of Britain.

    1. Nigel Coleman

      Stand under A.61, go to your next town/city council meeting and use your 3 minutes to explain the EU, A.61 and publicly ask the councillors where they stand on A.61. Take names of those who refuse to stand.

  2. martyn

    Sorry for sounding like a numpty but am I right in thinking that the queen didn’t respond within 40 days and that’s why this is still ongoing

    1. Nigel Coleman


      You’re not a numpty, it is a valid question. The committee of the barons delivered to the petition to the Queen on 7 February 2001. The Queen responded on the 39th day with a constitutionally inappropriate response and the consequence was that Article 61 was invoked on 23rd February 2001. A.61 can only be revoked by a constitutional convention which has never occurred since the invocation of A.61 therefore this country remains under the authority of the people and NOT the crown until such time as A.61 is correctly addressed.

      A Petition to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

      presented under clause 61 of Magna Carta, 1215

      February 2001

      To Defend British Rights and Freedoms


      as our humble duty, we draw to Your Majesty’s attention:

      The loss of our national independence and the erosion of our ancient rights, freedoms and customs since the United Kingdom became a member of the European Economic Community (now European Union) in 1973;

      The terms of the Treaty of Nice, 2000, which, if ratified, will cause significant new losses of national independence, and further imperil the rights and freedoms of the British people, by surrendering powers to the European Union;

      a) To enter into international treaties binding on the United Kingdom, without the consent of your Government;

      b) To ban political parties, deny free association and restrict the free expression of political opinion;

      c) Which can be used to introduce an alien system of criminal justice, abolish the ancient British rights of habeas corpus and trial by jury, and allow onto British soil men-at-arms from other countries with powers of enforcement;

      d) To create a military force which will place British service personnel under the command of the European Union without reference to British interests, contrary to:

      i) The oath of personal loyalty to the Crown sworn by British forces,

      ii) The Queen’s Commission, and

      iii) The United Kingdom’s obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation;

      e) Which remove the United Kingdom’s right to veto decisions not in British interests;

      The creation by the European Union of a Charter of Fundamental Rights, which purports to give it the power to abolish such “rights” at will;

      The unlawful use of the Royal Prerogative to:

      a) Suspend or offend against statutes in ways which are prejudicial and detrimental to your sovereignty, contrary to the Coronation Oath Act, 1688;

      b) Subvert the rights and liberties of your loyal subjects, contrary to the ruling in Nichols v. Nichols, 1576;

      Your Majesty’s power to withhold the Royal Assent, and the precedent set by Queen Anne under a similar threat to the security of the Realm in 1707.
      WHEREFORE it is our humble duty TO PETITION Your Majesty

      To withhold the Royal Assent from any Parliamentary Bill which attempts to ratify the Treaty of Nice unless and until the people of the United Kingdom have given clear and specific approval;

      To uphold and preserve the rights, freedoms and customs of your loyal subjects as set out in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights, which you, our Sovereign, swore before the nation to uphold and preserve in your Coronation Oath of June 1953.
      We have the honour to be Your Majesty’s loyal and obedient subjects.


  3. Peter Maddison

    What was her reply?

    1. Marcus

      On 39th day the response was:

      “I am commanded by The Queen to reply to your letter of 23rd March and the accompanying petition to Her Majesty about the Treaty of Nice.

      “The Queen continues to give this issue her closest attention. She is well aware of the strength of feeling which European Treaties, such as the Treaty of Nice, cause. As a constitutional sovereign, Her Majesty is advised by her Government who support this Treaty. As I am sure you know, the Treaty of Nice cannot enter force until it has been ratified by all Member States and in the United Kingdom this entails the necessary legislation being passed by Parliament.”

      On the strength of this inappropriate response, Article 61 was invoked and has remained in effect to this day.

  4. Pingback: Magna Carta 1215: The Legitimate Peace Treaty to protect you! – Denounce The Deception (UK)

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