A former minister who quit Prime Minister Tony Blair's Cabinet following the Iraq war tried Friday to change the law to limit the government's powers to send troops into action. Currently the government can authorize war without parliamentary approval. But launching a private bill in the House of Commons, Clare Short insisted that lawmakers must be given veto power.
"The accountability of the executive to parliament is a very important democratic principle which should surely be extended to the making of war," said Short, who resigned from her post as international development secretary following the U.S.-led invasion.
Under her proposal, both chambers of parliament would have to be shown the case for war and its legal justification before voting on committing British troops. A prime minister would still be allowed to take urgent action without approval, but would be forced to withdraw troops if parliament then rejected the move, according to the AP.
Blair's refusal to publish the full legal advice for the Iraq war until a series of leaks forced his hand, and claims his office exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein by "sexing up" intelligence dossiers, proved damaging. His Labour government's commanding lead in the House of Commons was slashed in elections earlier this year.
Nevertheless, Blair still has a sizable majority and despite ongoing grievances over Iraq among some of his own lawmakers, Short's bill stands little chance of being passed.