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Parliament’s Secret War

By: Veronika Fikfak, Hayley Hooper
Media of Parliament’s Secret War
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Published: 22-02-2018
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 272
ISBN: 9781509902873
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Hart Studies in Security and Justice
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £70.00
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Loren Epson

About Parliament’s Secret War

The invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the Coalition Government's failure to win parliamentary approval for armed intervention in Syria in 2013, mark a period of increased scrutiny of the process by which the UK engages in armed conflict. For much of the media and civil society there now exists a constitutional convention which mandates that the Government consults Parliament before commencing hostilities. This is celebrated as representing a redistribution of power from the executive towards a more legitimate, democratic institution. This book offers a critical inquiry into Parliament's role in the war prerogative since the beginning of the twentieth century, evaluating whether the UK's decisions to engage in conflict meet the recognised standards of good governance: accountability, transparency and participation. The analysis reveals a number of persistent problems in the decision-making process, including Parliament's lack of access to relevant information, government 'legalisation' of parliamentary debates which frustrates broader discussions of political legitimacy, and the skewing of debates via the partial public disclosure of information based upon secret intelligence. The book offers solutions to these problems to reinvigorate parliamentary discourse and to address government withholding of classified information. It is essential reading for anyone interested in war powers, the relationship between international law and domestic politics, and the role of the Westminster Parliament in questions of national security.

Table Of Contents

1. Parliament's Secret War 1
Veronika Fikfak and Hayley J Hooper
A. The Role of the House of Commons in War Powers Decisions: An Historical View
B. From Discretion to Democratisation
C. Roadmap of the Book
D. Methodology: The Political Constitution and Evidence-Based Public Law
2. A Legal War?
Veronika Fikfak
A. Use of Force as an International Legal Question
B. Bringing the War Question Home
C. Use of Force as a Domestic Question
D. The Implications of Linking International Legality to Parliament's Constitutional Role on War
E. Shining a Light on the Subjugation of Politics
3. The Convention as a Battlefield
Veronika Fikfak
A. The Role of Conventions in the UK Constitutional Sphere
B. The Timing of the Engagement
C. Parliament's Hollow Veto Power
D. Emergencies, Drones and Special Forces
E. Unrealised Accountability
4. The Deployment of Secrecy
Hayley J Hooper
A. Groupthink and Information Asymmetry
B. Complete Asymmetry: Refusing Debates and Making Secret Pre-commitments
C. Partial Asymmetry: Selective Disclosures
D. Reforming the Intelligence Machinery: An Incomplete Solution
E. Towards a New Nomenclature of Secrecy
5. Re-arming Parliament: Fostering Politics
Veronika Fikfak and Hayley J Hooper
A. Moving Beyond the Standard Solutions
B. Creating Space for Politics and Equipping Parliament for Deliberation
C. Voting Within a Culture of Justification
6. Closed Intelligence Sessions
Hayley J Hooper
A. Chilcot's Proposal for Parliamentary Scrutiny of Intelligence Material
B. The Alternative: Closed Intelligence Sessions of the Whole House of Commons
C. Justifications for Initiating a Closed Intelligence Session
D. Controlling Abuse of Closed Intelligence Sessions
E. Security Considerations
F. Inclusive Secrecy, Transparency, Participation and Accountability

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