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Queen and Prince Charles had veto over 39 bills: Documents

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 19:50

London: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles have had numerous opportunities to torpedo bills that could change their powers, including a law that would have given parliament sole authority to sanction strikes on Iraq during the 1999 war, Cabinet documents show.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles have been asked to consent at least 39 laws, some of which they have vetoed, according to the documents.
Ministers and Whitehall mandarins must ask the senior Royals to approve or veto legislation across most areas of government if it may impact on their interests, like the Crown estate and the Prince`s Duchy of Cornwall estate.

The Queen`s veto blocked the Military Actions Against Iraq Bill in 1999, a backbench bill making it necessary that Parliament must first give consent before Tony Blair`s government could launch air strikes against Saddam Hussein`s Iraq.

It was put forward by anti-war Labour MP Tam Dalyell but it failed as it did not receive the Royal Assent.

Dalyell said at the time: "I am not going crawling to the Queen. This has nothing to do with her".

The Palace was also asked to agree bills linked to higher education, paternity pay, identity cards and child maintenance.

The Whitehall legal pamphlet containing the information admits that if they do not give consent: "a major plank of the bill must be removed".

The senior Royals are asked about legislation from Westminster that might have an impact on their own interests or estates.

The Palace said today that Royals only use their veto if they are advised to by cabinet members or civil servants.

But critics say it shows the amount of power in the monarchy`s hands.
Prince Charles has been criticised in the past for the number of letters he has written to ministers giving his views on policies.

The Queen`s Duchy of Lancaster estate, which includes 19,000 hectares of land and 10 castles, pays for running Sandringham and Balmoral.

Prince Charles`s Duchy of Cornwall brings in 18 million pounds a year.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "It is a long established convention that the Queen is asked by parliament to provide consent to those bills which parliament has decided would affect crown interests".

"The sovereign has not refused to consent to any bill affecting crown interests unless advised to do so by ministers" she said.

A spokesman for Prince Charles at Clarence House added: "In modern times, the Prince of Wales has never refused to consent to any bill affecting Duchy of Cornwall interests, unless advised to do so by ministers. Every instance of the Prince`s consent having been sought and given to legislation is a matter of public record."


First Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 19:50
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