Does parliament vote to keep the army?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Hans, Jan 14, 2007.

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  1. Pretty sure this is the right forum but apologies if not.

    Does parliament vote to keep or disband the army every couple of years or so as a result of some historical fear of standing armies? If so does anyone know any details as its for an essay (joy upon joys)?

    Thanks for any help
  2. No, parliament doesn't vote to keep the army. What the government does is establish a defence policy which also includes an offensive capability to protect the interests of the country at home and abroad.

    The army is included with the navy and air force in the budget and on advice from the Defence Staff the Ministry of Defence puts its need forward to the government who then decide whether or not these requests fit in with Home and Foreign policy for the forseeable future and allocate or deny budgetary requirement as necessary.

    There are times when this will require debate and vote in both houses but some decisions are taken within the infrastructure of existing legislation.
  3. Almost, but not quite. Parliament votes on an Appropriations Bill (which becomes an Act when it has been approved and given Royal Assent) every few years (might be 5 - I'm not sure). The Act provides the legal authority for the Armed Forces to spend public money. The most recent Armed Forces Act was brought into law by Royal Assent in November 2006 and the appropriations bit is here.

    Armed Forces Acts are also used to tidy up all sorts of other legislation relating to the three services, and the last one brought together a number of elements of the Service Discipline Acts, creating a single Services Prosecuting Authority, for example, and bringing the summary discipline powers of commanders in each of the three services into line. If you google you'll get an overview of it from a couple of useful documents, or you'll find the full Act (343 pages of it - enjoy!) here.

    Good luck with th eessay

  4. Actually I can't see that you've said anything different to me. You've just said it in more detail.
  5. Would be interesting to know the exact question set for the essay Hans. Just wonder if they may be focussing on control of the military and control of the country, probably stemming from events of the Civil War and powers of Cromwell and Charles II?

  6. That's because I started typing it (and looking up the links) before you posted your answer. The 'almost, but not quite' was in response to the OP, not you. You're right, we aren't disagreeing.

  7. Thank you. I did wonder LOL.
  8. I thought there was a vote every so often, part of the Bill of Rights.
  9. The bill of rights only requires the sovereign to call parliament every year afaik.

    There is no requirement in law for us to have a standing army (afaik) however parliament governs in the name of the people and it has been determined down through the centuries that certain things are needed to 'keep the monarch's peace'. One of these is a police force and the other is a military.

    In esssence parliament could decide we don't need an army and that could be presented as a bill. It requires to be passed through both houses and approved by the monarch. Before such a contentious bill could be introduced however the author would need to be sure of popular support and I don't believe such a situation has ever existed in England, Great Britain or the UK although the milita was disbanded as 'no longer required' in 1907 and the rights of the nobility to raise armies was abolished (except in certain circumstances).

    It is still the right of every citizen (note 'citizen', not 'subject') to 'bear arms for defence' under the Bill of Rights but subsequent laws have diminished that right.
  10. G Dav – from the Bill of Rights,
    • That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law;

    Parliament for many years voted every year to make the Army legal and voted funds to pay for it. I have vague memories that this was increased to every three years at some time. I think now that it is included in the same bill that allocates funds to pay for the Army. Perhapswe should go on the Westminster thread and ask TGarden – he may know.
  11. Good idea.
  12. PM sent to his Lordship requesting the noble and gallant Gentleman's guidance.
  13. From TGarden (if you want something doing ask a busy man);

    The Army Act is now to be replaced by the Armed Forces Act 2006. The relevant clause is 382. If you want the Act it is at this site.
    However the explanatory notes are more useful and say:
    Section 382: Duration of SDAs and this Act
    The section maintains for this Act the same requirements for renewal which currently apply to the SDAs. The Act is subject to renewal each year by Order in Council. The order must be approved by Parliament in draft. But it may be renewed in this way for a maximum of five years. Renewal beyond that time will require an Act of Parliament.

    So there is no change except that all 3 services are considered together annually.
  14. There ya go then.