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Committee question former Foreign Secretaries Jack Straw and Lord Hague

23 April 2019

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee continues its inquiry examining the authorisation of the use of military force on Tuesday 30 April. In this session, the Committee will hear from two former Foreign Secretaries and Leaders of the Commons: Jack Straw and Lord Hague of Richmond. 


Parliament has no legal role in authorising the use of military force. However, since 2003, it has been asked on several occasions to give its approval. Both Jack Straw and Lord Hague have over the course of their ministerial careers been key protagonists in some of the most contentious and high-profile debates surrounding the deployment of troops, and the continued exercise of the royal prerogative. 

Purpose of the session

In this session, the Committee will seek a political perspective on matters raised by military personnel last month, such as the extent to which issues of legitimacy and legality are factored into the thinking of both military commanders and Government ministers when preparing to deploy forces; and whether in their respective experiences, judgement or analysis ultimately plays a greater role in the decision-making process.

The Committee will also examine the extent to which a convention has emerged requiring parliamentary approval for military action, and whether more clarity is required regarding its scope. Both witnesses have previously argued that a precedent was established by the 2003 vote to embark upon military action in Iraq, and that this should be recognised either via a resolution of the House, changes to Standing Orders, or legislation.


Tuesday 30 April 2019, Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster

At 10am

  • Rt Hon Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary 2001-2006
  • Rt Hon Lord Hague Of Richmond, Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State 2010-2014

Further information

Image: Crown Copyright