London – 28 June 2006

Human rights campaigner and long-time republican Peter Tatchell today called for “greater transparency and accountability concerning the Queen’s wealth and taxation.”

Mr Tatchell was one of a group of members of Republic (the Campaign for an elected Head of State) who protested outside Buckingham Palace this morning at 11am, as the announcement was made on the Queen’s finances.

“The number one argument for a republic is that monarchy is incompatible with democracy. An unelected Head of State is an affront to democratic values.

“The mysteries of the Royal finances are symptomatic of the monarchy’s lack of openess and accountability.

“The Queen’s personal wealth is shrouded in secrecy. There is little disclosure. We don’t know how much she is worth and on how much of her wealth she pays tax.

“The public is not permitted to know the rate of tax she pays because it is the subject of a private agreement, made with John Major’s government in 1992. Under this agreement, the Queen is allowed to pay whatever level of tax she deems to be appropriate. No other person is given these privileged exemptions from the standard tax rules.

“We are not allowed to know whether she is paying tax on all of her wealth or only part of it.

“Until we get full transparency concerning the Queen’s finances, there will always be doubt as to whether her contribution to the exchequer is fair and above board,” he said.