Govt minister plays down significance of Prince Charles letters
A government minister who received some of the so-called black spider memos from Britain’s Prince Charles says they didn’t cause “particular difficulties”.
Margaret Beckett, Labour’s former environment secretary, has come out in support of the decision to make the controversial letters public, but she also revealed that the Labour government was “broadly” in favour of most of the prince’s views.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, she added: “Certainly we didn’t see eye to eye with Prince Charles about GM foods. But I don’t recall it being a difficulty.”
On whether the letters should be made public, she said: “In general terms I do tend to sympathise with the view that if views are being expressed and influence being exerted then there is a certain amount of right for the public to know.”
By contrast, David Cameron – the prime minister – said the decision was “disappointing”.
He reflected: “This is about the principle that senior members of the royal family are able to express their views to government confidentially. I think most people would agree this is fair enough.”
However, he added that the government is now trying to work out how best to release the document.