Flashback Jan13 - Windsors' extensive vetos over UK legislation
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
The Queen and Prince Charles are using their little-known power of
veto over new laws more than was previously thought, according to
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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