Challenging the Royal Prerogative: The Decision on War against Iraq in Parliamentary Debates in 2002-3

Teemu Häkkinen
2016 Parliamentary History   unpublished
The use of military force is an excellent example of how the decision-making process has traditionally been carried out by the executive. However, the role of parliamentary decision-making in this area has gradually emerged as a topic for constitutional discussion in the house of commons. The decision to go to war in Iraq in 2002−3 is considered to have been a culmination point for the role of parliament in decision making about the deployment of troops abroad and the use of military force. In
more » ... military force. In addition to the need for international authorisation, the decision to go to war was preceded by a clear parliamentary preference for a domestic mandate for participation, delivered by means of a vote in the house of commons. This article argues that as a result of this emphasis on domestic political authorisation, the royal prerogative (the residual powers of the sovereign that are exercised by the ministers of the government) has been subjected to broader discussion in plenary sittings since the Second World War. Furthermore, this constitutional debate continued after the invasion of Iraq had begun and the operations against Iraq's conventional forces had turned into insurgency warfare. 2