Recalling Parliament: the demands of foreign affairs

Today, MPs have been recalled from their summer break to discuss the ongoing crisis in Syria. Parliament’s direct involvement in foreign affairs has always been rather smaller than in domestic policy; the business of negotiating with foreign states is a closely-defended aspect of the royal prerogative. Nevertheless, MPs have often wanted to discuss and debate overseas events, and as we saw yesterday, can still have … Continue reading Recalling Parliament: the demands of foreign affairs

Eligibility for Parliament

Originally posted on Reformation to Referendum: Writing a New History of Parliament:
Mohammad Sarwar’s recent decision to renounce British citizenship in order to take office as Governor of Punjab province in his native Pakistan is another remarkable step in the career of a man who was the first Muslim Member of Parliament, and the first to take the oaths on the Koran. References to Mr… Continue reading Eligibility for Parliament

Thomas Potter, MP for St Germans, Aylesbury and Okehampton

Dr Robin Eagles looks at the colourful life of Thomas Potter, who was first elected to parliament in the summer of 1747… During the summer of 1747, the ministry of Henry Pelham responded to a challenge caused by the heir to the throne, Frederick, Prince of Wales, returning to opposition by calling a snap general election.  Taken by surprise, Frederick’s party fared badly in the polls but … Continue reading Thomas Potter, MP for St Germans, Aylesbury and Okehampton

‘Watched with considerable curiosity’: The first secret ballot in Britain, 15 August 1872

Dr Kathryn Rix, of the Victorian Commons, tells us about the very first election by secret ballot in Britain… Today marks the anniversary of the first occasion on which the secret ballot was used to elect a British MP, under the provisions of the 1872 Ballot Act. The poll, held in the Yorkshire borough of Pontefract on 15 August 1872, was ‘watched with considerable curiosity’ throughout … Continue reading ‘Watched with considerable curiosity’: The first secret ballot in Britain, 15 August 1872

In search of an oral history project coordinator…

Last month, we heard the wonderful news that our new oral history project, ‘From the Grassroots: An Oral History of Community Politics in Devon’, will go ahead thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project, as you may have seen already, will create a sound archive of local politics in Devon from the Second World War until the present day (see our … Continue reading In search of an oral history project coordinator…

Karl Anton Hickel and Parliament

Originally posted on Reformation to Referendum: Writing a New History of Parliament:
Pictures of parliaments at work can all too easily look like an end-of-term school photograph, in which getting everyone in is more important than any interest in the whole. I can think of very few pictures of the House of Commons which are much more than a valuable topographical record of the Chamber.… Continue reading Karl Anton Hickel and Parliament