Given the criticism that Jeremy Corbyn received when he failed to sing God Save the Queen at a Battle of Britain memorial service, the Labour leader faces a new dilemma when he is sworn into the Privy council.
Although it is custom to get on bended knee and kiss the Queen’s hand, the republican politician is said to be undecided over whether to adhere to this. However, according to John Prescott he may already be spared from one part of the ceremony. Speaking on the Sunday Politics,the former deputy Prime Minister told Andrew Neil that the ceremony does not actually require any kneeling, instead it consists of a fair amount of hopping:
‘When I was first asked to join the Privy Council by John Major I said I didn’t want to do it, he said why? Cos you have to kneel and kiss her hand. I didn’t want to do that, I thought it was a stupid arrangement, I still think it should go. But you don’t do that; you hop. Get into hopping. You hop from one chair to another and brush your lips lightly across her hand.’
While Prescott concedes that his lips did touch the Queen’s skin, should Corbyn adopt Tony Benn’s old trick of kissing his thumb rather than Her Majesty’s hand, the die-hard republican may yet survive the ceremony with his principles intact. And as ever, Prescott’s hypocrisy was on full show. Despite joining the Privy Council himself, he said we should ‘bloody well get rid of’ it because it’s not democratic. Just like the House of Lords, then.