London, Jan 15: Queen Elizabeth vetoed a bill on military action against Iraq in 1999 that shows the royal family plays an active role in the democratic process and is not just in a ceremonial role.
The bill would have given parliament sole authority to sanction strikes on Iraq during the 1999 war.
The queen and Prince Charles have been given at least 39 chances to veto legislation before it became law, the Daily Mail reported.
The queen blocked the “Military Actions Against Iraq Bill” in 1999 put forward by anti-war Labour MP Tam Dalyell. The bill failed as it did not receive the royal assent.
The palace said 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.
“There has been an implication that these prerogative powers are quaint and sweet but actually there is real influence and real power, albeit unaccountable,” said academic John Kirkhope who challenged the government to release the documents.
Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George said: “This is opening the eyes of those who believe the Queen only has a ceremonial role.”
“It shows the royals are playing an active role in the democratic process and we need greater transparency in parliament so we can be fully appraised of whether these powers of influence and veto are really appropriate.”