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Jeremy Corbyn turns down Privy Council invitation

PUBLISHED: 10:15 08 October 2015 | UPDATED: 11:23 08 October 2015

Queen Elizabeth II on a tour of the City and Islington College in 2012.

Queen Elizabeth II on a tour of the City and Islington College in 2012.

PA Archive/PA Images

Jeremy Corbyn has declined an invitation to be sworn in to the Privy Council amid continued uncertainty over whether he will declare allegiance in person to the Queen.

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his first keynote speech on day three of the Labour Party annual conference. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his first keynote speech on day three of the Labour Party annual conference. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The Labour leader and Islington North MP, a noted republican, had been invited to a meeting today of the body of senior politicians and eminent figures, but said existing private engagements would prevent him attending.

“Jeremy was invited but couldn’t make it due to private engagements,” a spokesman said.

Membership of the ancient group is granted to the leader of the opposition to allow them to receive secret briefings from the security services.

They take a solemn oath not to reveal the information they are given. It has been claimed that Mr Corbyn could avoid having to kneel before the monarch by being sworn in by an Order in Council without being present, a method used for members based abroad.

No alternative date had yet been set for the process, the spokesman said, adding that he was “unsure” regarding the protocol of by-passing the need to swear the oath on purpose.

Mr Corbyn had been unaware of the tradition of kneeling and said shortly after his election that he would need to discuss with colleagues how to approach it.

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