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Law protects Queen's head on stamps

The appearance of the Queen's head on postage stamps is to be guaranteed by law after the Government struck a deal with Buckingham Palace to protect the tradition.

Amendments will be put forward by ministers next week to close a loophole that could have allowed a foreign buyer of the Royal Mail to remove the monarch's image.

The change was confirmed by business minister Ed Davey, who said his department and royal officials had "worked extremely well together to prepare for this initiative".

While the legislation paving the way for a sell-off contains a clause giving the Queen a veto over any use of her image on stamps or other products, it does not insist that her head be shown.

Officials had justified the lack of a specific protection by saying it would be "commercial suicide" for any operator to remove the royal head - and that it had not be requested by the Palace.

German and Dutch operators are expected to be leading bidders in the sell-off and Labour accused the coalition of watering down protection to attract maximum interest.

But Mr Davey, who insisted that he initiated moves towards closing the loophole, said safeguards would now be included.

"After listening to views of members of both Houses of Parliament and the Palace, we have agreed this additional safeguard," he told the Mail on Sunday.

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