Seats in the Commons

After today’s State Opening of Parliament, many MPs will also have to battle to find a seat to debate the Queen’s Speech. This is a historic problem for the Commons, as our Director, Dr Paul Seaward, discusses… Mr Dennis Skinner, the fabled member for Bolsover, found himself on the day the House first sat after the election in a tussle with the SNP over his … Continue reading Seats in the Commons

Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Gwilym Dodd, ‘Common petitions; Commons’ petitions; whose petitions? The supplicatory discourse of Parliament, c.1340-1450′

‘Parliaments, politics and people’ returned for the summer term with Gwilym Dodd’s paper on petitions in medieval parliaments. Dr Paul Hunneyball, Senior Research Fellow on the Lords 1603-1660 section, reports back… For its first session of the 2015 summer term, the Parliaments, Politics and People seminar welcomed Gwilym Dodd, of the University of Nottingham. His paper was entitled ‘Common petitions; Commons’ petitions; whose petitions? The … Continue reading Parliaments, Politics and People seminar: Gwilym Dodd, ‘Common petitions; Commons’ petitions; whose petitions? The supplicatory discourse of Parliament, c.1340-1450′

Lord Chancellors – learned in the law?

Our Director, Dr Paul Seaward, reflects on the Lord Chancellor’s legal experience… Michael Gove was sworn in as Lord Chancellor on Tuesday, resplendent in the gold-trimmed gown of the office, but without the full-bottomed legal wig, apparently to mark the fact that he is not a qualified lawyer. It has been said that Gove is the second person to hold the office who is not … Continue reading Lord Chancellors – learned in the law?

How does it feel to be a new MP?

This week at Westminster MPs elected for the first time will still be finding their feet. With such a large new intake these certainly will not be on their own, but how will they be feeling? This question is one we ask former MPs when we interview them for our oral history project. There are some very common answers (we’ve lost track of how many … Continue reading How does it feel to be a new MP?

The ‘Election’ of the Speaker in Fifteenth-Century Parliaments

Today Parliament returns, and the new assembly’s first job is to elect a new Speaker. Dr Simon Payling, Senior Fellow of the Commons 1422-1504 section, explores how medieval parliaments ‘chose’ their Speakers… The practice of electing the Speaker can be traced back almost to the origins of the office in the 1370s, but there is almost nothing to show the form taken by these elections … Continue reading The ‘Election’ of the Speaker in Fifteenth-Century Parliaments

Early Modern ideas about Parliament’s origins

Our series celebrating the anniversaries of Magna Carta and Simon de Montfort’s Parliament continues today. Dr Paul Cavill, Lecturer in Early Modern British History at Cambridge University discusses how the origins of Parliament were viewed in the early modern period… When did the first parliament in England meet? In modern historical consciousness, the answer is straightforward enough: in the year 1265, following the victory of … Continue reading Early Modern ideas about Parliament’s origins

The youngest MP since…?

Following the election of Mhairi Black last week, many of you have asked us about young MPs! Over to our Director, Dr Paul Seaward… Many have said that Mhairi Black’s election as the SNP Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire South at the age of 20 makes her the youngest MP since the seventeenth century. It has already been pointed out (some have quoted … Continue reading The youngest MP since…?