Prerogative Powers

These are powers that historically belonged to the Crown, but which over time have been transferred to the prime minister or other ministers. Many of these are not properly defined. They are not set out in statutes but are based largely on the practice of previous governments. Therefore they are part of Common Law. The main prerogative powers that still exist today are the powers to:

Both Gordon Brown's Labour government (2007-10) and the coalition government (2010-15) were open to the idea of placing some prerogative powers under parliamentary authority.

Two powers have been abolished or reformed.

· The 2011 Fixed Term Parliaments Act removed the right of the prime minister to determine the date of the general election.

· Since the parliamentary debate on the Iraq War in 2003, and the 2013 debate on air strikes in Syria, governments have accepted that military action requires prior parliamentary approval. In case of an emergency, the government retains the right to deploy troops and then to secure approval afterwards.