The Role of Parliament in the UK Constitution: Authorising the Use of Military Force


Committee information


1 Introduction

2 The royal war prerogative: an executive function

The royal prerogative

How has the royal prerogative developed and how has its use changed through history?

The royal war prerogative today: an executive function

Legitimate authority

3 War power conventions

Historic role of conventions

The emergence of a stronger parliamentary convention

The 2003 precedent

The post-2003 convention and its exceptions

4 Formalising the convention: legislation and resolution

5 Parliamentary scrutiny

Scrutiny and direct Commons authorisation

How Parliament considers foreign affairs and defence

General defence debates

The changing nature and challenges of war

Potential expanded and new roles for committees

Conclusions and recommendations

Annex 1: Previous parliamentary committee reports and Government Command Papers

Taming the prerogative: Strengthening Ministerial Accountability to Parliament (2004) - Public Administration Select Committee (PASC)

Waging war: Parliament’s role and responsibility (2006) - House of Lords Constitution Committee

Governance of Britain (2007) - UK Government

Constitutional implications of the Cabinet Manual (2011)& Parliament’s role in conflict decisions (2011) - Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (PCRC)

Constitutional arrangements for the use of armed force (2013) - House of Lords Constitution Committee

Parliament’s role in conflict decisions: a way forward (2014) - Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (PCRC)

Formal minutes


Published written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

Published: 6 August 2019