NATIONAL: 'Premiers Should Not Use Royal Prerogative'

The Birmingham Post (England), February 7, 2006 | Go to article overview

NATIONAL: 'Premiers Should Not Use Royal Prerogative'


Byline: By Jon Smith

Tory leader David Cameron yesterday floated the idea of stripping future Prime Ministers of the power to wage war without the formal approval of Parliament.

He set up a Democracy Taskforce, which included in its review whether premiers should be free to use the Royal Prerogative on behalf of the monarch to declare war or sign treaties.

But Mr Cameron ruled out any changes to the powers preserved personally for the Queen and her successors, such as dissolving Parliament or appointing the Prime Minister.

He also questioned whether there should not be formal parliamentary confirmation hearings for senior public appointments made by the premier, such as the chief executive of the NHS or the chairman of the BBC.

Former Chancellor and Home Secretary Kenneth Clarke will chair the taskforce, which will include among its members ex-Cabinet Secretary Lord Butler - who has been critical of Tony Blair's "sofa style" of government.

In a speech in London, Mr Cameron said giving MPs the final say over whether British troops are committed to military action could restore trust in politics.

He said: "I believe that one of the factors causing disillusionment with politics is the decline of status and power of Parliament.

"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.

"Restoring trust in politics means restoring trust in Parliament and one way to do that is to enhance the role of Parliament in scrutinising the Government's decisions. …

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