UK Conservatives call for limiting PM's war power

[JURIST Europe] UK Conservative Party [party website] leader David Cameron Monday urged [official speech text] a review of the traditionally-unilateral "royal prerogative" powers exercised by the prime minister in the name of the British monarch, including the powers to go to war, sign treaties, and change internal governmental structures. The party has set up a Democracy Task Force [press release] led by Conservative frontbencher Kenneth Clarke to study and press the issue. Cameron's criticism of the scope of the prime minister's powers centers on the fact that the PM can exercise them without approval from Parliament; in a pointed reference to recent events, he said:

Just last week, we first heard about the Government's decision to send 4,000 troops to Afghanistan in the pages of the Sun newspaper....While there was a vote on the decision to go to war in Iraq, albeit very late in the process, there was no vote on the action in Kosovo. So shouldn't there be a formal process for parliamentary approval?
The UK Guardian has local coverage.

D. Wes Rist is Bureau Chief for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. He is based in the UK.

 

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