Modernisation of the Royal prerogative has been a central theme of the Governance of Britain agenda. The 2007 Governance of Britain Green Paper said, ‘Adistinguishing feature of the British constitution is the extent to which the government continues to exercise a number of powers which were not granted to it by a written constitution, nor byParliament, but are rather ancient prerogatives of the Crown. These powers derive from arrangements which preceded the 1689 Declaration of Rights and have been accumulated by the government without Parliamentor the people having a say.
The Green Paper went on to say, ‘The Government believes that in general the prerogative powers should be put onto a statutory basis and brought understronger parliamentary scrutiny and control. This will ensure that government is more clearly subject to the mandate of the people’s representatives.
Proposals for reform of a number of prerogativeexecutive powers were set out in that Green Paper and are now being taken forward in a variety of different ways. For the remaining powers, the Government undertook to conduct a wider review and to considerwhether, in the longer term, they should be codified or put on a statutory basis.
In March 2004 the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) published a report on the Royal prerogative whichnoted that prerogative powers could be exercised without parliamentary approval and that restrictions on Ministers’ prerogative powers were limited.
It would then have fallen to a joint selectcommittee of both Houses of Parliament to consider what changes should be made, observing certain principles and to prepare draft legislation to give effect to those changes.
The draft Bill would alsohave provided for greater oversight by Parliament of three prerogative powers: the deployment of the armed forces; the ratification of treaties and the issue, refusal, revocation and withdrawal of...