The Power to Make War

At present the Prime Minister has power, by using the Royal Prerogative, to deploy British troops abroad and wage war. Following the controversy over the decision to invade Iraq, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution recommended (27 July 2006), as did most of its witnesses, that this power should be curbed and he should be more answerable to Parliament. In brief, the committee has proposed a parliamentary convention to determine the role Parliament should play in making such decisions.

All STV Action asks of its supporters is that they support the Single Transferable Vote (STV). Supporters are free to hold their own individual views on all other issues and we do not wish to divide them from each other or us so we do not ask them to support or oppose any other political campaigns, such as to reform the Prime Minister’s power to make war, and STV Action itself does not campaign on any of them.

Hence STV Action has no collective view on reducing the Prime Minister’s power to make war, but we believe that it will be difficult for the Commons to hold the Prime Minister to account for war or anything else so long as he or she, in effect, controls the Commons. To remedy this, we recommend that MPs should be elected by the Single Transferable Vote (STV). They would then be more accountable to their electors than to their party machines.

Part of General Sir Michael Roseâ’s evidence was that armed conflict became legitimate only when it was supported by the majority of the people of the country and there was a clear moral basis for engaging in conflict. However with the present voting system, there is no correlation between a majority in the commons and a majority in the country.

Please click here to see our Editor’s personal evidence to the Select Committee.


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