THE Scottish Parliament cannot compel the Government to release details about how laws were allegedly changed to secure the Queen’s approval, the Presiding Officer has suggested.

A leaked memo, seen by The Guardian, reveals that “it is almost certain some bills were changed before introduction to address concerns about Crown Consent”.

Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton is demanding answers from Holyrood ministers, but has been told that parliament will not intervene to force the Government’s hand.

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Through a constitutional mechanism called “Queen’s Consent”, the monarch is given an opportunity to look over prospective laws that could affect her property and public powers.

This is not the same as Royal Assent, which is given to bills to make them acts of Parliament, as it occurs before legislation is approved by either the UK or Holyrood parliaments.

Previous reports have revealed that there had been 67 instances where the procedure had allowed the Queen to vet draft laws in Holyrood.

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Buckingham Palace insists the process is “purely formal” and that the Queen does not use Crown Consent, which is what it is called in Scotland, to change the nature of bills.

Cole-Hamilton, raising a point of order following First Minister’s Question, quoted the newspaper report in Parliament.

He explained: “Alterations to exempt Crown interests in the royal household from certain aspects of law were even made before legislation was introduced to this parliament.

“We don’t know what changes were made or even which bills were changed.

“I think parliament and the public deserve to see and understand those changes.”

He asked the Presiding Office how “parliament, and the people of this country, can get sight of the changes made to legislation at the request of the Queen’s lawyers before it was introduced to this parliament”.

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Alison Johnstone replied: “Parliament has of course taken steps to increase transparency and awareness of this process.

“But as this is a matter which relates to pre-introduction of the Bill, it is entirely a matter for the Government.”

The Scottish Government, when approached about the initial report, said that it was legally obliged to acquiesce to Crown Consent and that MSPs could enquire about the mechanism when it was used. It also said that secrecy surrounding the substance and outcome of its talks with the Queen’s representatives was justified.

A statement read: “While the Scottish Government welcomes transparency in relation to this process, it is important that the Government protects the necessary private space ministers and officials require to explore issues and develop policy.”

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the memo.