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Labour's new leader Jeremy Corbyn to join Privy Council

By James Tapsfield and David Hughes

Published 14/09/2015

There had been doubts about whether Jeremy Corbyn would be willing to participate in the system
There had been doubts about whether Jeremy Corbyn would be willing to participate in the system

Labour's new leader Jeremy Corbyn has accepted an invitation to join the Privy Council, Downing Street has announced.

Membership of the ancient body is granted to senior politicians who receive secret briefings from the security services.

They take a solemn oath not to reveal the information they are given.

In a statement, Number 10 said: "The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Jeremy Corbyn MP as a Member of Her Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council."

There had been doubts about whether Mr Corbyn - who has called for the monarchy to be abolished - would be willing to participate in the system.

David Cameron, who is in the Middle East, told reporters this morning that he offered the opposition leader Privy Council membership on Saturday.

The Prime Minister, who has claimed Mr Corbyn's Labour represents a "threat to our national security" is now expected to allow Mr Corbyn to see sensitive briefing on threats facing the UK.

Asked whether Mr Corbyn, chairman of the Stop The War campaign, would be invited to attend meetings of the National Security Council, the Mr Cameron's official spokeswoman said: "The PM has ensured that the leader of the opposition is briefed on national security issues previously, as appropriate, and will continue to look to do that."

She added: "It will be driven issue by issue, as it has been in the past."

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The day-to-day business of the Privy Council involves issues such as the siting of graveyards and university charters, and usually only involves ministers.

While MPs have to swear or affirm allegiance to the Queen, the oath required of Privy Council members is much fuller.

The current wording, which has been around since Tudor times, states: "You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done or spoken against Her Majesty's Person, Honour, Crown or Dignity Royal, but you will lett and withstand the same to the uttermost of your power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same.

"You will in all things to be moved, treated and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion, according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council."

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