Jeremy Corbyn has refused to be sworn into the Privy Council on 8 October and will not kneel before the Queen. The Labour leader may instead exploit a loophole to join the advisory body, it has emerged.
Corbyn has said that he is unable to attend the meeting as he has "prior engagements". Were he to attend the ceremony, the self-confessed republican would have to kneel in front of Her Majesty and kiss her hand while swearing an oath of allegiance to her. Since his first official engagement as Labour party leader at a Battle of Britain service last month, Corbyn has come under fire from the Conservatives after he stood through the national anthem (which does not once mention Great Britain) in silence.
On 7 October, Prime Minister David Cameron attacked Corbyn and claimed that the MP for Islington North is trying to impose his "security-threatening, terrorist-sympathising and Britain-hating ideology on this country we love."
According to a Telegraph report, Corbyn could avoid meeting with the monarch altogether by using a mechanism known as Order in Council. In this case, he can be appointed as a member of the Privy Council if it (including the Queen) agrees to induct a new member without them being present. Corbyn would still be required to take the oath, but would not have to kneel in front of Queen Elizabeth II. Should he choose to do so, Corbyn will become the first opposition leader to take a stand against being sworn in front of the head of state.
"Firstly it is deeply insulting and secondly it is not grown up - not to go to see the monarch is just extraordinary," one Council member told the Telegraph. "I am sure that what they would have done is not to make him kneel. But what this really means is that he is not prepared to put himself in the position of a serious leader who can be trusted."
Were he to be sworn in, Corbyn would be just a handful of people privy to government intelligence briefings. "The whole point is that he is entering into an agreement with the State which gives him access to material and creates a relationship of trust," another Westminster source said.
"If he were to go down the route of becoming a member through an Order in Council that would probably be an indication that he never intended to attend," the source added. "He is under no obligation to attend in person but any leader of the Opposition would normally be expected to be there."