Parliament’s role in decisions to go to war

(Update: The Committee’s report is available online here.)

This is a head’s up for anyone interested in the role of Parliament in decisions to go war.

The UK House of Commons’ Political and Constitutional Reform committee will be hearing from experts on the issue of committing troops to battle on Thursday, 31 March, beginning at 10:00 UK time. You can watch these hearings on the Parliament TV website.

The Committee will be looking at the following questions:

  • Has a  convention now been established requiring the approval of the House of Commons?
  • What are the circumstances in which forces could reasonably be committed before a debate and vote in the House of Commons, as happened recently in the case of Libya?
  • Is a detailed parliamentary resolution needed to clarify Parliament’s role, as proposed by the last Government, or should the role of Parliament in conflict decisions be enshrined in law, as the current Foreign Secretary has suggested?

While the debate will be framed in the the context of what has taken place in the UK House of Commons, there’s a good chance that a lot of the information will be applicable to the Canadian context as well.

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