Commonwealth should get to vote on leader - Corbyn

The man who could be the next Prime Minister of the UK doesn't think Prince Charles should assume he'll take over the Commonwealth when his mum dies.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says the 53 countries of the Commonwealth should choose their next leader, rather than just let Prince Charles have the job when he takes the throne.

"The Queen clearly is personally very committed to the Commonwealth, but after her I think maybe it's a time to say well actually the Commonwealth should decide who its own President is on a rotational basis," Mr Corbyn told the BBC.

Queen Elizabeth II is the official head of state in 16 of the 53 countries. Prince Charles is next in line, followed by Prince William, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Harry.

New Zealand, Australia, the UK and 13 other countries have never had a head of state that wasn't also Head of the Commonwealth.

Elizabeth took the role when she assumed the throne in 1952, but the role technically isn't a hereditary one and there aren't any clear rules on how it should be transferred, UK media reports.

Jeremy Corbyn and Prince Charles.
Jeremy Corbyn and Prince Charles. Photo credit: Getty

Last week Labour's shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor said Prince Charles shouldn't be the next Head of the Commonwealth, but her opposition seemed less ideological than personal.

"I don't particularly think it should be him. Not because I have an issue with the Royal Family - I just don't think it should be him."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the proposal wouldn't carry "much support" amongst Commonwealth countries, which have just finished celebrating their association at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.