REPUBLICAN campaigners are preparing to seek parliamentary support for abolishing exemptions in Scottish law which have been made for the royal family after a petition on the issue was swiftly rejected.

Our Republic gathered nearly 7500 signatures for the petition, which further called for all details of instances where the monarchy has lobbied for changes in Scottish law to be made public and for them to be reversed.

It was lodged following reports the late Queen was given advance sight of Holyrood bills, allowing her to secretly lobby for changes, on at least 67 occasions. These included bills dealing with property taxation, protections from tenants, and planning laws.

The constitutional mechanism, called Crown Consent, sees the monarch given an opportunity to look over prospective laws that could affect their property and public powers.

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The petition further called for any future communications between the monarchy and government or Parliament to be “fully transparent” to prevent any such alterations to Scottish laws being implemented in the future. 

It was brought to the table last month at a meeting of Holyrood’s public petitions committee but was not discussed beyond members simply accepting the Scottish Government’s response.

The Scottish Government said it could not remove Crown Consent. It added that correspondence with the royal family is confidential and in order to maintain the ability to hold “free and frank discussions” it is important this is recognised and respected.

It added a positive relationship with the royal family is “vital” and that Scottish Government policy is that the Crown should be subject to regulatory requirements on the same basis as everyone else unless there is a “legitimate reason” for an exemption or modification to this.

Tristan Gray, convener of Our Republic, said the Scottish Government response was “irrelevant” as he accused it of “pleading a special case” for the monarchy.

He said as the petitions committee is now a “closed shop”, the group would be looking into what other parliamentary support for action they can muster.

He told The National: “It was shockingly short [the consideration of the petition], considering it was one of the most widely backed petitions under consideration for the last few years.

“I’ve worked on the committee before and that number of signatures is not to be sniffed at.

“We ended up confronted with a committee that said they just accepted the Scottish Government response. There were no follow up questions. None of them seemed to have any curiosity for what the monarchy’s role has been in oversight of changes to our laws or the transparency around the lobbying.

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“Can you imagine if the same was said for any lobbying group in business or culture? If any of those groups was challenged for having secret meetings kept from the public and the Government’s line was ‘we have to keep those secret so we can maintain good relations with them’, I think there would be outcry.

“It [the Government response] was irrelevant to what we were requesting.  It seemed to be pleading a special case for the monarchy that does not exist for any other group that interacts with the parliament, which is exactly the exceptionalism awarded to the monarchy that we are trying to challenge.”

On the group’s next steps, Gray said: “We’re looking at different options. We need to start scoping out what support we have amongst MSPs for further action given that it’s clear the petitions committee is a closed shop to us.”

The Guardian investigation last year revealed that topics amongst the 67 Scottish laws dealt with property taxation, protections from tenants, planning laws and a 2018 bill that prevents forestry workers from entering crown land, including Balmoral, without the Queen’s consent.

It revealed the Queen was the only landowner in Scotland who was not subject to compulsory purchase orders for the construction of pipelines which would heat buildings using renewable energy.

Lawyers for the monarch lobbied the Scottish Government to exempt her from the Heat Networks Bill, which was revealed in documents obtained by the LibDems.

Previously, former MSP Andy Wightman had bid for a rule change to prevent the monarch having the chance to change Scottish laws. He called the process “anti-democratic and archaic”.

The Scottish Government declined to comment. 

A spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament’s Citizens Participation and Public Petitions Committee said: “The petition was fully considered at a meeting of the Committee on the April 19. 

“The committee closed the petition on the basis that there was no realistic prospect of being able to progress the petition’s aims."