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Can the UK parliament push a legislation, actively opposed by the Queen? Can they overcome the Queen's veto?

  • 1
    I'm wondering why this was downvoted. It looks like a good question to me. Upvoting it to bring it back to 0. – THelper Jan 6 '17 at 8:40
  • This seems to presuppose that the queen would actively oppose proposed legislation which wouldn't happen. Not under the present queen at least, who knows what might happen when/if Charles takes over. To all intents and purposes the monarch could not do this as it would effectively amount to a royal coup as SJuan76 says, and throw the country into constitutional turmoil. – SJR Jan 6 '17 at 14:34
  • Related: Why don't British kings and queens veto laws? – user11249 Jan 8 '17 at 3:37
  • "The Queen has a veto. The Queen has at most one veto." – Reinstate Monica - M. Schröder Jan 12 '17 at 0:18
  • Belgium had an actual situation a couple of years ago: their King didn't want to sign an abortion bill. He was declared unfit by parliament for a day, and his replacement signed, after which the King was reinstated. (So it ended up as a symbolic refusal, not a real veto) – Sjoerd Jan 31 '17 at 17:43
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This question is tricky.

From what I can tell, there are 3 possible interpretations/meanings, depending on how much you like technicalities:

  1. No

    The Queen is not separate from the Parliament; in fact, she is its head. It is only when the Queen has granted a bill her royal assent that it becomes an Act of Parliament. So you could say that, if the Queen does not agree, then the Parliament is not actually pushing any law.

  2. Yes

    If you ignore that technicality and go with the standard view of defining Parliament as just the House of Commons & the House of Lords (and in later times, principally the House of Commons alone), then the Queen retains the theoretical power of refusing to give royal assent to a bill approved by both Houses or the House of Commons alone.

  3. Theoretically yes, but at a considerable cost

    If you go to the totally practical level, you see that the last time royal assent was denied was in 11 March of 1708. (Though in 1914, the King sought legal advice about whether he could deny assent.) At this point in time, trying to deny royal assent would amount to a very extraordinary intervention by the Monarch, which could have severe political consequences; while not really being impossible, it could be considered on par with a coup d'etat from the Monarch and could lead to severe political repercussions.

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    I think your 3rd "No" is supposed to mean "Yes". – Philipp Jan 6 '17 at 9:08
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    I do not see how all the three answers differ. It seems, all three say, the parliament cannot do anything without the consent of the Queen. – Anixx Jan 6 '17 at 14:00
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    The first and second answer differ because about technicalities... being strict, the Queen is part of the Parliament so the Parliament cannot push laws against her, it would be the Houses (of Commons or Lords) that approve the laws and the Queen (as head of the Parliament) that denies her assent. The first answer is based in the stricter interpretation, the second is using a more loose, common interpretation of your question. The bills are not officially "approved by the Parliament" until they get the Royal Assent, even if they are voted for by the Houses. – SJuan76 Jan 6 '17 at 16:54
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    @Jasper George III wasn't refusing assent to an act of parliament, his governor-generals were refusing assent to acts of colonial legislatures, presumably on the advice of the British prime minister through George III. – ohwilleke Jan 7 '17 at 17:16
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    The answer is great, but it raises the reader's curiosity about what happened in 1708 and 1914. For those who wonder, in 1708 royal assent was denied to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Militia_Bill and in 1914 it could have been denied to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_Ireland_Act_1914 . I suggest adding this information to the answer, since I thing it doesn't merit a separate answer. – Pere Jan 8 '17 at 15:32

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