The British Parliament and Foreign Policy in the 20th Century : Towards Increasing Parliamentarisation?
Ihalainen, P., & Matikainen, S. (2016). The British Parliament and Foreign Policy in the 20th Century : Towards Increasing Parliamentarisation?. Parliamentary History, 35 (1), 1-14. doi:10.1111/1750-0206.12180
Published inParliamentary History
© The Parliamentary History Yearbook Trust 2016. This is a final draft version of an article whose final and definitive form has been published by Wiley. Published in this repository with the kind permission of the publisher.
This article demonstrates the complexity of the foreign policy involvement of the British parliament during the 20th century. Parliamentary government as such provides some procedural means for involvement in foreign policy debate, in Britain as well as in other countries. Researchers have, nevertheless, often argued that parliaments play a limited role in foreign policy. Approaching our topic by combining the analysis of policy documents with more discourse-oriented analysis of parliamentary debates, we argue that noticeable, but not straightforward, parliamentarisation of foreign policy took place in the course of the 20th century. The aftermath of the First World War led to reconsiderations of the degree of parliamentary supervision of foreign policy. The emergence of international organisations, and, recently, European integration, have also complicated parliamentary participation in foreign affairs. The parliamentary oversight of foreign policy is no longer limited to the national level, which has, in the British case, led to calls to reinforce the sovereignty of the national parliament. On the domestic level, parliamentary debates on foreign policy need to be contextualised with extra-parliamentary public discourse. The relation of parliament to civil society at large, especially non-governmental organisations and the media, has created multi-sited debates, further strengthening democratic control of foreign policy. ...