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Councillors To Attend Royal Garden Party – We Ask Their Thoughts On Hereditary Roles

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Friday, Jan 6th, 2017.

Wrexham Council are, as is usual, sending representatives to a Royal Garden Party in 2017.

The Local Government Association is allocated a number of tickets to Royal Garden Parties, and they then sub allocate them based on the population of member areas. Wrexham therefore gets four tickets, with the Council report noting “Customarily the Civic Head and Consort/Mayoress have represented the Council along with a nominated Member & spouse/partner.”

The report therefore recommends the incoming Mayor, Councillor Bernie McCann and the
incoming Mayoress, Mrs Kath McCann will attend to represent Wrexham Council.

Further, one of the nominated Councillors and their spouse/partner take up the other tickets.

There is guidance from higher up noted, stating “The Lord Chamberlain takes the view that invitations are in recognition of past service and it is, therefore, appropriate that outgoing Members, rather than those newly elected, should be invited to attend.”

All Group Leaders/Members of the Council were consulted and nominations of Councillors were made.

On Wednesday we asked the nominated Councillors if they would be taking up any invite, and at what level in UK / Welsh democracy they believe hereditary roles are inappropriate. We gave some examples of possible hereditary roles such as Heads of State, Ministers, AM/MPs/Lords, Police & Crime Commissioners, Councillors such as themselves, and perhaps even hereditary Community Councillors.

Two of the six nominated Councillors replied and their responses are in full below.

Councillor Phil Wynn told us, “I was asked by the Leader of the Council if I would consider escorting the Mayor to the Queen’s Garden Party in the summer (assuming I am re-elected in May) which I was happy to accept. Having noted the list of fellow Councillors who wish to carry out this public engagement I have duly notified the Leader of the Council to withdraw my name.”

Councillor Derek Wright of Cefn ward was the only one to tackle the hereditary question, he told us, “I would attend along with my wife if I’m elected in the May elections back on to WCBC and invited to attend by the then Leader of the Council.

“I don’t believe in hereditary appointments at any level in the 21st century, though I do feel our present monarch, however she came by her job, has done tremendously well for over 60 years in what has been very difficult circumstances at times.”

We had no replies from Councillors Hugh Jones, David Kelly, Mark Owens or Steve Wilson, who have all been nominated.

The dress code for such parties is described as “gentlemen wear morning dress or lounge suits, while women wear day dress, usually with hats or fascinators. National dress and uniform are also often worn.”

The detail given on Royal.UK adds, “The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh circulate among the guests through ‘lanes’. Each takes a different route and random presentations are made so that everyone has an equal chance of speaking to Her Majesty and other Members of the Royal Family. The Queen then arrives at the Royal Tea Tent, where she meets further guests.

“Guests are free to eat, drink and stroll around the beautiful Palace gardens.”

The expected cost of the trip to Wrexham Council is not mentioned, but the budgetary note reads: “All the expenses associated with this visit will be met from the civic expenses/Members expenses budget.”

In the Sovereign Grant accounts PDF (here) for 2014-15 indicates around £2.1m is spent every year holding the Garden Party events, up £300k from 2012.

One interesting note is at the Royal Garden Party events  it has been reported that in one year 5,000 silver-plated teaspoons were used with the Queen’s head on them rather than usual plastic ones, yet 1,000 of them were nicked – presumably by the guests as a souvenir of the day.

Wrexham Council Leader Mark Pritchard will decide on the final allocation, with the full report viewable to the public via this PDF.

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