View Full Version : U.K. MPs Call For Blair To Be Stripped Of Power To Send Country To War

08-30-2006, 08:31 AM
UK MPs call for Blair to be stripped of power to send country to war


08.29.2006, 01:40 PM

LONDON (AFX) - Prime Minister Tony Blair should be stripped of his power to send the country to war or recall parliament, a Labour MP said.

Jon Trickett, who leads the influential Compass Group of left-wing parliamentarians, argues that that so-called royal prerogative, which effectively gives the prime minister of the day the sole power to send the country to war, should be abolished.

Writing in Red Pepper magazine, Trickett said Blair's recent refusal to recall parliament to debate the Middle East crisis, despite intense anger at Britain's policy on the matter, made a mockery of democracy.

'The impotence of our democratic system leaves many MPs frustrated at their inability to represent their constituents and debate government policy,' Trickett said.

'The divergence of the reality of the British political system from the democratic ideal is completely unacceptable.'

'The archaic system of the 'royal prerogative' dictates that crucial power still rests with the crown; in reality exercised by the first minister Tony Blair.

Trickett said the level of public anger over Blair's approach to the Israel/Lebanon crisis had 'raged nationwideeverywhere but in the chamber of the House of Commons'.

'The truth is that the government simply did not want to have to justify its actions and inactions during the Middle East crisis to the House of Commons,' he said.

He accused Downing Street of 'cynically' using its 'residual monarchical powers to deny MPs the right to meet at a dangerous moment in the life of the nation'.

An influential House of Lords committee last month called for Blair to be stripped of his power to send Britain to war.

The cross-party constitution committee said the decision should now be taken via a parliamentary vote instead of the royal prerogative.

'In this day and age, the use of the royal prerogative to order military action abroad is an anachronism,' said committee chairman Lord Holme.

'It should not form the basis for legitimate war making in a parliamentary democracy in the 21st century.'