‘The exercise of the Royal prerogative by
the Government to deploy armed force overseas is outdated and should not be
allowed to continue as the basis for legitimate war-making in our 21st century
democracy.’

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Saoirse Walsh

Public Law

Word Count: 914

 

Under the Royal prerogative
powers, the Government can declare war and deploy armed forces to conflicts
abroad without the backing or consent of Parliament 1,
however in 2003 the government agreed to allow the Parliament to have a say in weather
or not to deploy armed forces overseas but however in 2004 the House of Common’s public Administration
Select Committee, released a report on the Minister’s prerogative
powers stating that ‘any
decision to engage in armed conflict should be approved by Parliament, if not
before military action then as soon as possible afterwards’2.

In the United Kingdom, there has
not been any declaration of war since 1942 which was against Siam (Thailand),
and extremely unlikely it is bound to happen to again. However armed forces still
get deployed overseas as allies, even though it may not even be considered as
war. Previously in the 19th century the British constitutional arrangements
for the deployment of armed forces overseas have played an important role to
protect, promote and to even broaden Britain’s interests in maintaining power
across Europe, although war may have been changed but military forces still
remain the same due to policy. As we can see there are two main factors to
consider which can influence the decision for the use of the deployment power,
one side is more for more of  a political
and sometimes often moral obligation for deploying armed forces overseas
whereas if there was a crucial circumstances, often done in secret, that must
be pressing security to act immediately for example destroying the Taliban in
Afghanistan after 9/11 3.

I do not believe that armed
forces should be deployed over smaller matters unless war has been declared,
because people have to make life changing and extremely drastic decisions which
will affect them and their families lives forever because they are being
deployed out to another country overseas to fight, with the ultimate aim of
killing someone or even worse being killed themselves. I think that the Royal
Prerogative should not have a complete and total decision over what happens to
the people and citizens of the United Kingdom when it comes to deploying armed
forces. I think that the Royal Prerogative should be keeping the Parliament up to
date and correctly informed with any progress of deployments and the duration time
of how long they will be gone for. I believe that the Government should be
seeking the approval of Parliament if they are deciding to deploy British
forces into potential or actual armed conflict, putting their lives in danger
outside of the United Kingdom, “While the government which has taken it should
be required to explain and justify its decision to Parliament and to the
people, the decision itself should not be dictated by the immediate views and
reactions of Parliament or of the people” 4It
has previously been proposed that the best way to establish a legitimate source
of authority for the deployment of armed forces would have to be ‘for Parliament to
pass a law saying that all of the prerogative powers of war-making are now transferred
to the Prime Minister’5. “the use of military force is so
important, it is a unique capability where the state authorizes the use of
lethal force … that Parliament must necessarily take a view on when and where
it is used, if it is to be used”6, there is a lot of major consequences
when it comes to big decisions like deploying armed forces, because it affects
and disrupts countries and citizens involved, so it should only be necessary to
do so in deploying them as there are many devastating consequences linked to
war and armed conflict.

Since the Prime Minister already
has that power under the Royal Prerogative, making the act to pass legislation would
be essentially making the Parliament the locus of authority. However the legislation
that would have been passed, would not have aided or made Parliament more
involved in the process of the deployment power, but it would massively help to
change the constitutional basis and also bringing in the possibility of new
future change if Parliament decide so.

 

In conclusion I think that the Parliament
should have a say in deploying armed forces overseas, because the Royal
Prerogative having total power to deploy armed forces overseas is extremely
outdated and can lead to unnecessary legitimate war making outside of the
United Kingdom, causing a lot of chaos to the United Kingdom and to the people
of the armed forces who work first hand in it. I believe there should be some
sort of system in place so that Parliament can be informed by the Government
when they are going to decide to deploy armed forces overseas, they should also
be informed when they are coming back, the duration for how long they will be
gone. I think they should be informed on all aspects of what is going on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldconst/236/236i.pdf

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/09ba669d-758c-4a6a-827c-89c80e28a897

1 Waging War: Parliament’s role and responsibility
Volume One, 19 July 2006, HL 5

2 Taming the Prerogative:
Strengthening Ministerial Accountability to Parliament, Fourth Report, Session
2003-04, 16 March 2004, HC 422

3 Waging War: Parliament’s role and reasonability
Volume one, 19 July 2006, HL 12

4 Volume II:
Evidence, page 214; also see Sebastian Payne, Volume II: Evidence, page 117

5 Waging War:
Parliaments Role and responsibility, Volume One, 19th July 2006, HL
27

6 Lord Garden, Volume II: Evidence, Q 110