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Her Majesty the Queen...

Her Majesty the Queen...

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:28 pm

I have been pondering the powers and purpose of the monarchy.
If the Prime Minister has to ask her permission to form a government or go to war, are there any circumstances under which she would say no, and if not, then what is the point of asking?
Is it all purely tradition for tradition's sake, or is there more to it?
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Re: Hert Majesty the Queen...

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:47 pm

It is difficult, if not impossible, to foresee the circumstances under which a monarch might refuse to accept her ministers' advice on these matters. In a battle of wills between an elected Government and the monarchy, the Government must prevail. Parliament has been known to depose monarchs who do not bend to its will.
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Re: Hert Majesty the Queen...

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:03 pm

Smouldering Stoat wrote:In a battle of wills between an elected Government and the monarchy, the Government must prevail.

Why? Apart from the cry of democracy.
What if Her Majesty had good reason to believe that the will of the people was contrary to the desires of the government?
An example I have wondered about is what would have happened if she had refused to invade Iraq?
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Re: Her Majesty the Queen...

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:23 pm

We have ways of determining the will of the people. They are called elections. How is the Queen supposed to know the will of the people better than anyone else?

Like it or loathe it, the invasion of Iraq was authorised by the House of Commons and not by the Queen. Her Majesty was not called upon to declare war on Iraq. In fact, off the top of my head I can't recall any instance in which she has done so.

It is arguably the case that the power to use military force is no longer vested in the monarchy (to the extent that it ever was) but now rests with Parliament.
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Re: Her Majesty the Queen...

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:46 pm

Smouldering Stoat wrote:Her Majesty was not called upon to declare war on Iraq.

Are you saying that the armed invasion of another country is not a declaration of war?
It is arguably the case that the power to use military force is no longer vested in the monarchy (to the extent that it ever was) but now rests with Parliament.

Perhaps you should make that argument to the palace.
http://www.royal.gov.uk/monarchuk/armed ... orces.aspx
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Re: Her Majesty the Queen...

Postby dls » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:42 am

A refusal would trigger a real constitutional crisis. It would be solved by a curtailment of the arrangement.

In reality it is a system which has persisted to differing extents now for over a thousand years, surviving all sorts of challenges and misfortunes.

It isn't going to go away, and it isn't going to be resolved.

You are in love with counterfactuals. The world appears to full of them, but it is full because they are not the situation we are in fact in.
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Re: Her Majesty the Queen...

Postby atticus » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:48 am

Hairyloon wrote:
Smouldering Stoat wrote:Her Majesty was not called upon to declare war on Iraq.

Are you saying that the armed invasion of another country is not a declaration of war?

As far as I can make out, stoaty is saying that Her Majesty was not called upon to declare war on Iraq. "Like it or loathe it", he said "the invasion of Iraq was authorised by the House of Commons and not by the Queen".
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Re: Her Majesty the Queen...

Postby Smouldering Stoat » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:28 am

Exactamundo.

The practice of declaring war seems to be a thing of the past now that we take military action under UN resolutions and so on. I see that the link the loon provided refers to the monarch's power being only exercised on the advice of ministers. Similarly, the US Constitution gives the Senate the power to declare war, but various Presidents have taken military action without asking for a formal declaration.

Parliament was called upon to authorise the invasion of Iraq and did so. But when asked to do the same with Syria it refused that consent and no action took place. That suggests that the power to authorise military force rests with Parliament.
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Re: Her Majesty the Queen...

Postby dls » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:18 am

Constitutionally the decision to prosecute armed conflict rests with the government - not Parliament.

However, as you say, latterly, there has arisen a new practice of asking Parliament. That practice has not yet displaced the convention, but it seems to be coming close.

Equally I am not sure when we last 'declared war' on anybody.
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Re: Her Majesty the Queen...

Postby Slartibartfast » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:13 am

The nearest instance is probably 1975 Australia, when Governor-General Sir John Kerr exercised the Queen's authority to dismiss the democratically-elected Labour Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, and place the country under the governance of Malcolm Fraser's 'Conservative' opposition.

It is hard to imagine that Kerr would have overturned the elected government without consulting HRH, but it was nonetheless claimed by the Palace that he acted autonomously - "As we understand the situation here, the Australian Constitution firmly places the prerogative powers of the Crown in the hands of the Governor-General as the representative of the Queen of Australia. The only person competent to commission an Australian Prime Minister is the Governor-General, and The Queen has no part in the decisions which the Governor-General must take in accordance with the Constitution"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1975_Aust ... nal_crisis
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