Three senior judges have ruled that the public has no right to read documents that would reveal how Prince Charles has sought to alter government policies.
The high court judges have rejected a legal attempt by the Guardian to force the publication of private letters written by the prince to government ministers.
Cabinet ministers have conceded that the prince’s private letters – dubbed “black spider memos” because of their scratchy handwriting – contained the prince’s “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” that could undermine the perception of his political neutrality.
However, Judge said that the power of ministers under the FoI Act to issue a veto and override a decision reached by judges raised “troublesome concerns”, particularly as even a ruling by the supreme court could be overridden.
“The possibility that a minister of the crown may lawfully override the decision of a superior court of record involves what appears to be a constitutional aberration,” he said.
“It is an understatement to describe the situation as unusual,” he wrote, adding that barristers could find no equivalent in any other British law.
Hmm… Grieve, the attorney general, argued that there was a risk that the prince would not be seen to be politically neutral by the public if the letters were published. Does anyone else have a bad feeling about Charles as King?