WI: British monarch gets to choose the Prime Minister

The house of commons has control of the finances and it can use that as a powerful weapon to cripple any really unwanted government.
This is the reason behind the custom of picking the PM from the party with a majority. That custom grew out of very practical reason.

The same happened in my own country and many others.
What happens when for structural reasons often or most of time there isn´t "a party with majority"? Or there is such a party, but it doesn´t have "the leader"?
Example of the latter, 1963: Conservative Party did have "a majority", but did NOT have "the leader". 4 likely candidates. Richard Butler, Reginald Maudling, Viscount Hailsham and Earl of Home. It was Elizabeth who picked Earl of Home.
How do Netherlands monarchs act in similar situations?
 
I think if the monarch is stay relevant to selecting prime ministers you need to weaken the party.

To do that you need to guarantee less parties (therefore more coalitions) and weaken or remove party leadership so the monarch isn't just choosing between party leaders.
 
Partially yes but also patronage meaning using money from the crown estate or civil list ti ensure place men are elected
That will be an issue. While the Crown Estates have plenty of money these days, they could not afford to pay for governing the country, which was part of what the Civil List was for originally, when the Royals got too deep in debt. The current ones are a bit less decadent and a lot of the money is used to repair palaces, rather than build new ones. A big issue of course is that it is no longer the time of Rotten and Pocket Boroughs. Instead of paying off a couple people, you will need to pay off advertising expenses for the local MPs. I suppose given how politics are now, they would just support a single party nationwide. Or have it where different royals support different parties. Really, this sort of stuff all would have the monarchy removed or curtailed sharply as with in mainland Europe, rather than now where they keep their dignity to an extent. Hmmm, I can only imagine how all this would effect liable laws and what the tabloids and papers are willing to risk printing. I feel whatever they do, the Royals would need to show restraint.
 
That will be an issue. While the Crown Estates have plenty of money these days, they could not afford to pay for governing the country, which was part of what the Civil List was for originally, when the Royals got too deep in debt. The current ones are a bit less decadent and a lot of the money is used to repair palaces, rather than build new ones. A big issue of course is that it is no longer the time of Rotten and Pocket Boroughs. Instead of paying off a couple people, you will need to pay off advertising expenses for the local MPs. I suppose given how politics are now, they would just support a single party nationwide. Or have it where different royals support different parties. Really, this sort of stuff all would have the monarchy removed or curtailed sharply as with in mainland Europe, rather than now where they keep their dignity to an extent. Hmmm, I can only imagine how all this would effect liable laws and what the tabloids and papers are willing to risk printing. I feel whatever they do, the Royals would need to show restraint.
Assuming we have a situation like otl, which given the op doesn’t seem likely
 
What happens when for structural reasons often or most of time there isn´t "a party with majority"? Or there is such a party, but it doesn´t have "the leader"?
Example of the latter, 1963: Conservative Party did have "a majority", but did NOT have "the leader". 4 likely candidates. Richard Butler, Reginald Maudling, Viscount Hailsham and Earl of Home. It was Elizabeth who picked Earl of Home.
How do Netherlands monarchs act in similar situations?
First to be clear, in the period of William III in the 19th century, there were not really formal parties. The first real party was founded in 1879.
To answer your question i will describe the procedure that was the custom for most of the 20th century and 21th century until we got our current King. After the election of the tweede kamer all party leaders of parties with a seat of the 150 seats (until 1918 First past the post after that proportional representation btw) visit the Queen to recomend her on which coalition of parties to form and who should lead the investigation to see if such a coalition is viable. On the base of this the queen appoints an "informateur" who looks for a coalition with a majority in parliament and willing to talk about ruling together. If successful, an "formateur" is appointed by the Queen, who sits around the table with the willing parties to construct a "regeerakkoord". That's a document that states what the government is hoping to achieve and what it's going to do for the next for years. If unsuccessful anywhere in those steps, the whole procedure starts again from the beginning. This can take a lot of time and the current trend is that it's getting longer and longer. Belgium which has a very similar system has the record with a formation period of 541 days.

As for leaders, the custom is that the largest party in parliament, that is part of the coalition gets to pick the minister-president. That's usually the party leader, but there have been exceptions in the past.
Edit: many PM's were first "formateur" of the cabinet. Again not a strict rule, but certainly a custom.
 
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What happens when for structural reasons often or most of time there isn´t "a party with majority"? Or there is such a party, but it doesn´t have "the leader"?
Example of the latter, 1963: Conservative Party did have "a majority", but did NOT have "the leader". 4 likely candidates. Richard Butler, Reginald Maudling, Viscount Hailsham and Earl of Home. It was Elizabeth who picked Earl of Home.
How do Netherlands monarchs act in similar situations?
If taxes need the approval of both Lords and Commons instead of just the Commons as IOTL, you might get such a situation quite regularly: since it'd be harder for a party leader to command a majority in both Houses (particularly as the Lords, being appointed for life, tend to be more independent-minded than MPs), the head of the main Commons party wouldn't have the same kind of dominant position as he does IOTL, and wouldn't necessarily be the obvious candidate for PM.
 
Honestly, the most I could see surviving is something like the Israeli presidency in a very multi-party Britain, where the Monarch would choose who they believe has the most chance of forming a successful coalition. Even that is shaky, though. Any signs of favoritism or bias would collapse this system in on itself.
 
Interestingly, there is a European country where the monarch has significant powers, namely Liechtenstein; per Wikipedia:

The reigning Prince is the Head of State and represents Liechtenstein in its international relations (although Switzerland has taken responsibility for much of Liechtenstein's diplomatic relations). The Prince may veto laws adopted by parliament. The Prince may call referendums, propose new legislation, and dissolve parliament, although dissolution of parliament may be subject to a referendum.[32]

Executive authority is vested in a collegiate government comprising the head of government (prime minister) and four government councillors (ministers). The head of government and the other ministers are appointed by the Prince upon the proposal of parliament and with its concurrence, and reflect the balance of parties in parliament. The constitution stipulates that at least two government members be chosen from each of the two regions.[33] The members of the government are collectively and individually responsible to parliament; parliament may ask the Prince to remove an individual minister or the entire government.

Legislative authority is vested in the unicameral Landtag, made up of 25 members elected for maximum four-year terms according to a proportional representation formula. Fifteen members are elected from the Oberland (Upper Country or region) and ten from the Unterland (Lower Country or region).[34] Parties must receive at least 8% of the national vote to win seats in parliament, i.e., enough for two seats in the 25-seat legislature. Parliament proposes and approves a government, which the Prince formally appoints. Parliament may also pass votes of no confidence in the entire government or individual members.

Parliament elects from among its members a "Landesausschuss" (National Committee) made up of the president of the parliament and four additional members. The National Committee is charged with performing functions of parliamentary supervision. Parliament can call for referendums on proposed legislation. Parliament shares the authority to propose new legislation with the Prince and with the number of citizens required for to initiate a referendum.[35]

Judicial authority is vested in the Regional Court at Vaduz, the Princely High Court of Appeal at Vaduz, the Princely Supreme Court, the Administrative Court, and the State Court. The State Court rules on the conformity of laws with the constitution and has five members elected by parliament.

The Liechtensteiners voted to increase the Prince's powers in 2003, and confirmed this in 2012, so it looks like the current arrangement is widely accepted. Maybe TTL's British monarchy could retain similar powers.
 
There have been systems like this in relatively recent times; Imperial Germany, as has been mentioned, and Imperial Japan is another slightly more recent example. Despite the Liechtenstein example that has been mentioned, I think it is unlikely for this to happen in anything like our Britain because a ceremonial monarch maneuvers their way back into having real power (I think it makes a difference that Liechtenstein is so small, so it's not a good model for Britain). So, as others have suggested, you probably need an earlier POD where the monarchy in England holds on to more power for whatever reason. The tricky part is preventing them from eventually losing it, as it seems the usual course for balance of power between monarchy and democratic elements is for the democratic elements to dramatically increase their power whenever the monarch is weak or unpopular. Reversals of the trend are rare, and seem to tend to produce unstable and short-lived results (as in Japan). Since over a long period of time, you're always going to get some weak or unpopular monarchs, and in the case of Britain the basic pattern of compromise between monarch and democratic elements is very old, I think it's tricky to come up with a plausible story where the democratic elements don't have total control by now unless you make dramatic changes. But maybe if you take a page out of Spain's book, and have a fascist period with a popular monarch playing a role in sorting out the post-fascist reconstruction, but make the monarch more ambitious than Juan Carlos?
 

NedStark

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But maybe if you take a page out of Spain's book, and have a fascist period with a popular monarch playing a role in sorting out the post-fascist reconstruction, but make the monarch more ambitious than Juan Carlos?
England already had its own version - the Commonwealth and Restoration.
 
There have been systems like this in relatively recent times; Imperial Germany, as has been mentioned, and Imperial Japan is another slightly more recent example. Despite the Liechtenstein example that has been mentioned, I think it is unlikely for this to happen in anything like our Britain because a ceremonial monarch maneuvers their way back into having real power (I think it makes a difference that Liechtenstein is so small, so it's not a good model for Britain). So, as others have suggested, you probably need an earlier POD where the monarchy in England holds on to more power for whatever reason. The tricky part is preventing them from eventually losing it, as it seems the usual course for balance of power between monarchy and democratic elements is for the democratic elements to dramatically increase their power whenever the monarch is weak or unpopular. Reversals of the trend are rare, and seem to tend to produce unstable and short-lived results (as in Japan). Since over a long period of time, you're always going to get some weak or unpopular monarchs, and in the case of Britain the basic pattern of compromise between monarch and democratic elements is very old, I think it's tricky to come up with a plausible story where the democratic elements don't have total control by now unless you make dramatic changes. But maybe if you take a page out of Spain's book, and have a fascist period with a popular monarch playing a role in sorting out the post-fascist reconstruction, but make the monarch more ambitious than Juan Carlos?
Eighteenth-century theorists were quite big on the idea of separation of powers (which was rather famously adopted as a guiding principle for the US Constitution), so maybe, instead of developing a convention whereby the head of the biggest party in the Commons gets appointed PM, the UK develops the opposite convention -- the PM/ministers can't be sitting MPs, lest the resulting concentration of power lead to tyranny. Since "Not an MP" isn't really very specific, this would still leave the monarch with considerable leeway in whom he chooses to appoint, unless of course some other hand-tying convention develops (though I can't think of what that might be off the top of my head).

Or, for a slightly wilder idea -- when the unfortunate and still-ongoing dispute between Great Britain and her North American colonies was first starting, the colonies claimed that their legislatures were co-equal with the British Parliament, subject to the Crown but not under the authority of Parliament itself. IOTL this argument didn't really work, because George III was pretty much a figurehead and Parliament didn't want to concede authority to any other body. ITTL maybe the early Hanoverians have done a better job upholding royal authority, and George III has more sanity and political nous than he did IOTL. He spies an opportunity to put his power on a firmer footing, accepts the colonists' argument, and instructs his officers not to try and enforce Parliament-ordered taxation outside the UK itself. Instead, he manages to cajole everyone into essentially forming a pan-Imperial federation, with the UK + each colony being self-governing in internal affairs, but having a common defence and foreign policy and a common policy for inter-region trade. Since common loyalty to the King is now the main unifier of all these separate states, I suspect the monarch would be able to throw his weight around much more, in the area of defence and foreign policy if not in the internal affairs of his kingdoms.
 
Eighteenth-century theorists were quite big on the idea of separation of powers (which was rather famously adopted as a guiding principle for the US Constitution), so maybe, instead of developing a convention whereby the head of the biggest party in the Commons gets appointed PM, the UK develops the opposite convention -- the PM/ministers can't be sitting MPs, lest the resulting concentration of power lead to tyranny. Since "Not an MP" isn't really very specific, this would still leave the monarch with considerable leeway in whom he chooses to appoint, unless of course some other hand-tying convention develops (though I can't think of what that might be off the top of my head).

Or, for a slightly wilder idea -- when the unfortunate and still-ongoing dispute between Great Britain and her North American colonies was first starting, the colonies claimed that their legislatures were co-equal with the British Parliament, subject to the Crown but not under the authority of Parliament itself. IOTL this argument didn't really work, because George III was pretty much a figurehead and Parliament didn't want to concede authority to any other body. ITTL maybe the early Hanoverians have done a better job upholding royal authority, and George III has more sanity and political nous than he did IOTL. He spies an opportunity to put his power on a firmer footing, accepts the colonists' argument, and instructs his officers not to try and enforce Parliament-ordered taxation outside the UK itself. Instead, he manages to cajole everyone into essentially forming a pan-Imperial federation, with the UK + each colony being self-governing in internal affairs, but having a common defence and foreign policy and a common policy for inter-region trade. Since common loyalty to the King is now the main unifier of all these separate states, I suspect the monarch would be able to throw his weight around much more, in the area of defence and foreign policy if not in the internal affairs of his kingdoms.
The separation of powers where the executive wasn’t part of the House of Commons was a big part of patriot Whig and some Tory philosophy in the early eighteenth century. If they had success bringing down the Walpole and the pelhams we could see that maybe happen?
 
@Fabius Maximus , an interesting idea, one that could easily work under the right set of circumstances. What is needed is the maintenance of the idea of executive monarchy (ie the Monarch is head of the executive branch and seperate from Parliament) that had initially been enshrined in the Revolutionary Settlement. Second, is the permanent (up to a certain point) idea that the Prime Minister and Cabinet answers to the sovereign (the head of the executive), not Parliament (the legislature). Basically what your wanting is a system close to Germany-Prussia, Austria-Hungary or the other major continental monarchies.

Both of these things are very doable.

Before I explain my idea as to how to do this, a little backstory. Great Britain didn't really have party politics until the 19th century; any suggestion otherwise is a myth or a lie. From 1689 to the early 1800s, Parliament was basically made up of multiple factions grouped under the names Tory and Whig, and even then there was still a ton of independent MPs whose support (alongside the Monarch) was what could make and brake governments. So as long as the King's pick had the support of the independents, he could pick and choice PMs at will. Not always (see George II's pick the 1st Earl of Bath's failure to form a ministry in 1746) but typically yes. I mean look at the most active of 18th century monarchs, George III; he appointed and dismissed at least five different ministries of his own authority and irregardless of Parliament (three in the 1760s alone!). He also personally chose the Earl of Bute, Lord North and Pitt the Younger as "his" first ministers, and kept the later two in office for over half of his active reign. So clearly the Crown had the power to appoint PMs and maintain them up till the Great Reform act and the weakening of patronage.

With all this said, I think the best scenario is to firmly establish this idea under George III. He was the most active monarch of the 18th century after all, so he is the best choice. To do so, I'd move to keep Parliament broken up into multiple factions, thus meaning the Ministry is dependent on royal patronage to continue. Considering that the Whigs were broken up into 3-5 factions from the 1760s to the late 1770s, I think its doable. Though I think it would necessitate either a victory in the Revolutionary war (which causes huge butterflies on its own) or the King persuading Lord North to stay on until 1784 or so, then accepting his resignation and appointing Pitt the Younger as his successor. This removes the crisis around North's resignation, the forced acceptation of the Rockingham Ministry, his death, the forced resignation of Shelburne, the disastrous Fox-North coalition and the eventual appointment of Pitt the Younger. Or, you could make the situation even more interesting by getting the King to use the royal veto under Rockingham, dismissing him and appointing Pitt early. Would cause an even bigger constitutional crisis.

I would also pair the above scenario with the creation of an "Ultra" or "Royalist" party in the Commons. Bute tried this with the "Friends of the Crown" faction but it kinda lost cohesion after his resignation and wasn't maintained. So get the Crown to form its own Parliamentary grouping, supported by royal patronage. It doesn't have to be large, but enough to give influence. The "Cavaliers" would serve as a royal flying squadron, supporting the government of the day, but withdrawing support if the Government gets into a fight with the Crown. Oddly, think the Crown Loyalist party from the Honor Harrington series. By the time of George IV's reign, this faction would likely include the OTL Ultra Tories who opposed Parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation, making it a sort of independent-royal wing of the Tories.

I think a combo of these two scenarios would get you to the 1850s and 1860s, by which time I think you'd be in a good position to "shield" the executive from Parliament's direct rule. I'd also suggest a strong royal control over the Civil service, and the possible selection of apolitical PMs from the bureaucracy directly. Both of these things were done by the Prussian system. Hope this helps!
 
Eighteenth-century theorists were quite big on the idea of separation of powers (which was rather famously adopted as a guiding principle for the US Constitution)
Wasn't that just Montesquieu, misunderstanding the British constitution?
nstead of developing a convention whereby the head of the biggest party in the Commons gets appointed PM, the UK develops the opposite convention -- the PM/ministers can't be sitting MPs, lest the resulting concentration of power lead to tyranny.
Unless they're going to serve from the Lords, I really don't see how this convention could develop. The whole point of the British constitution is the Prime Minister (i.e. uncrowned king) must be able to command the confidence of the Commons. If he can survive without doing so, as you seem to suggest, you tend towards ridiculous situation's like we had in the 17th century or 2019, where the Commons is uncontrollable.

I don't mean to just stand here picking holes. But I don't see how a presidential system could ever work. Every PM from Walpole has needed to command the confidence of Parliament. You do occasionally get situations where the monarch is able to temporarily prop up PM's, like with Victoria and Melbourne, but these have rarely had happy endings. The best way to allow the monarch to pick is to work within the system, I.e. The monarch can still pick whoever they want from parliament, so long as they can form a government. Victoria exercised this to call for Rosebery, and Elizabeth to call for Douglas-Home. The problem was Elizabeth got her fingers burnt so badly in that whole affair she almost completely stepped back from exercising any of her remaining prerogative's at all.

Perhaps if the criticism is less vehement, and Home wins the 64 election, Elizabeth could have taken it as a sign of confidence in her decision?
Not a particularly exciting answer I know, but it's the only way I can see it still working within the modern British Constitution, where political parties are facts.
 
Unless they're going to serve from the Lords, I really don't see how this convention could develop. The whole point of the British constitution is the Prime Minister (i.e. uncrowned king) must be able to command the confidence of the Commons. If he can survive without doing so, as you seem to suggest, you tend towards ridiculous situation's like we had in the 17th century or 2019, where the Commons is uncontrollable.
You say "ridiculous", but executive-legislature confrontations are pretty common in the US and other presidential countries, and in Britain before the 18th century. Granted the British constitution as it's developed IOTL isn't really set up for such situations, but there's nothing ridiculous or even necessarily unworkable about the situation itself.
 
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