Flashback Jan13 - Windsors' extensive vetos over UK legislation

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sun Feb 23 19:23:04 GMT 2014

Queen and Prince Charles using power of veto over new laws, Whitehall 
documents reveal

The Queen and Prince Charles are using their little-known power of 
veto over new laws more than was previously thought, according to 
Whitehall documents.

Philipson  Telegraph - 7:43AM GMT 15 Jan 2013
At least 39 bills have been subject to Royal approval, with the 
senior royals using their power to consent or block new laws in areas 
such as higher education, paternity pay and child maintenance.
Internal Whitehall papers prepared by Cabinet Office lawyers show 
that on one occasion the Queen vetoed the Military Actions Against 
Iraq Bill in 1999, which aimed to transfer the power to authorise 
military strikes against Iraq from the monarch to parliament.
She was also asked to consent to the Civil Partnership Act in 2004.
In the Whitehall document, which was released following a court 
order, the Parliamentary Counsel warns that if consent is not given 
by the royals "a major plank of the bill must be removed".
Legal scholar John Kirkhope, who fought to access the papers 
following a freedom of information case, said the document revealed 
senior royals have "real influence and real power".
"There has been an implication that these prerogative powers are 
quaint and sweet but actually there is real influence and real power, 
albeit unaccountable," he said.
The document also contains a warning to civil servants that obtaining 
consent can cause delays to legislation. Royal approval may even be 
needed for amendments to laws, it says.
Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, which includes land 
owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, said the findings showed the Royals 
"are playing an active role in the democratic process".
He called for greater transparency in order to evaluate whether the 
powers were "appropriate."
"This is opening the eyes of those who believe the Queen only has a 
ceremonial role," he said.
"It shows the royals are playing an active role in the democratic 
process and we need greater transparency in parliament so we can be 
fully appraised of whether these powers of influence and veto are 
really appropriate. At any stage this issue could come up and 
surprise us and we could find parliament is less powerful than we 
thought it was."
The power of veto has been used by Prince Charles on more than 12 
government bills since 2005 on issues covering gambling to the Olympics.
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