UK executive veto?

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.

(Telegraph, 15 January)

3 thoughts on “UK executive veto?

  1. I can’t speak about the majority of such occasions, but I am pretty sure the Queen “vetoed” the Iraq bill on advice from Tony Blair. And it wasn’t even a veto in the truest sense. Tony Blair asked the Queen to use her power to prevent Parliament from debating a bill that reduced royal power.

  2. I think we’ve been here before. The UK’s highly uncodified and and unentrenched constitution includes the twin concept’s of Queen’s consent and Prince’s consent. This is different from a regular legislative veto and an analogue is very common in modern constitutions. The UK parliament cannot consider a law that affects the constitutional functions or private interests of the Queen or the Prince or Wales without the relevant consent.

    Indian Constitution:
    Article 59(4) The emoluments and allowances of the President shall not be diminished during his term of office.

    Analogues to Article 59(4) are found in just about every Commonwealth constitution written since 1950. It’s designed to ensure the parliament or the executive cannot subvert the head of state by an attack on their private interests. Indeed to believe some constitutions written as early as 1787 have similar protections for the compensation received by the president.

    I don’t think Queen’s consent or Prince’s consent are particularly desirable features of the British constitution. However they’re also not completely indefensible.

  3. After thought: The analogous provisions in other constitutions don’t extend to cognitional functions, but then uncodified and unentrenched constitutions are quite rare in the modern world.

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