The centuries-old ban on a Roman Catholic becoming a British monarch should be scrapped, the Prime Minister has said.
The move would be favoured by secularists who believe it could pave the way for disestablishing the Church of England, further secularising British life.
David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, are speaking to Buckingham Palace and to Commonwealth leaders about the matter. Any changes would be likely to happen slowly.
David Cameron told the BBC that ending the ban, together with overturning the preferment of male heirs, was something he believed should happen.
He said: “I think that it’s right to discuss both sets of changes but I think we have to recognise that the Queen is not only the Queen of the United Kingdom but also many other jurisdictions as well.
“So discussions have to take place between the UK Government and other governments around the world and also with the Palace in order to bring this about.”
He added: “In principle I think both changes should be made, in principle I’m of that view. But it will take time because it’s not just our decision, it’s the decision of others as well.”
In 2009 the well-known secularist Evan Harris, then a Lib Dem MP, proposed these changes. He said it was about equality, but others said it was part of his push to secularise Britain.
A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales said at the time that overturning the ban on Roman Catholic monarchs was “not something that is top of our agenda”.
The spokesman added: “There’s a lot of other legislation going through that would have far more impact on how the Catholic church operates in this country, such as the assisted dying bill and the human fertilisation and embryology bill.”