Maureen Colquhoun: “an open lesbian-feminist woman” in the House of Commons

In our second blog for LGBTQ+ History Month our Public Engagement Manager, Sammy Sturgess, explores the parliamentary career of Maureen Colquhoun who was the first openly lesbian MP, as well as the first openly LGBTQ+ MP… Maureen Colquhoun was elected as Labour MP for the newly formed constituency of Northampton North in February 1974. This was her second attempt at winning a seat, having lost … Continue reading Maureen Colquhoun: “an open lesbian-feminist woman” in the House of Commons

Exiting the English Republic, part 1: political flux in early 1660

Continuing the series on the turmoil of 1659-1660, which saw a retreat from radicalism and political experiment, Dr Vivienne Larminie, assistant editor of the Commons 1640-1660 section, looks at the manoeuvrings of politicians and army officers in a period of great tension and uncertainty… By late January 1660 the English republic had entered its last days – although its imminent extinction was probably not inevitable, … Continue reading Exiting the English Republic, part 1: political flux in early 1660

A Trojan horse in the House of Lords? The South Sea Company and the peerage

2020 marks the 300th anniversary of one of the most spectacular stock market crashes in British history when the South Sea Bubble burst. Dr Charles Littleton re-examines the way in which the scheme was guided through Parliament and the impact it had on some members of the House of Lords On 22 January 1720 the chancellor of the exchequer, John Aislabie, presented to the House … Continue reading A Trojan horse in the House of Lords? The South Sea Company and the peerage

Sitting at Christmas: getting business done, 1643

In a previous blog our director, Dr Stephen Roberts, explored legislation by which parliamentarians of the 1640s tried to promote what they saw as more appropriate ways of celebrating Christmas; contrary to popular historical myth, Oliver Cromwell was not the driving force. As Dr Vivienne Larminie of our Commons 1640-1660 section explains, Parliament itself began cutting back on the Yuletide festivities some years before Cromwell … Continue reading Sitting at Christmas: getting business done, 1643

“Windy music & heat in the House” The failure to reform the House of Lords in 1719

In the spring of 1719 the government introduced a measure for reforming the House of Lords. By its provisions the size of the peerage of Great Britain was to be frozen, while the Scots were to be allotted 25 hereditary peerages in place of the 16 elected ones they currently held. It failed but in the following session the same measure was brought back again. … Continue reading “Windy music & heat in the House” The failure to reform the House of Lords in 1719

‘Duely sensible of their obligation’: the role of women in Georgian election balls

With general elections back in the news, the Georgian Lords welcomes back Hillary Burlock for the second part of her series on the importance of dance and the participation of women in 18th-century electoral contests. Much of Georgian electioneering played out in the public, ‘masculine’ theatre of the hustings and city streets; yet the ballroom, too, was an intensely political arena. Politicians understood the political … Continue reading ‘Duely sensible of their obligation’: the role of women in Georgian election balls

The ‘Interruption’ of Parliament and the quest for political settlement, October 1659

In the first of a new blog series charting the collapse of the British Republic, Dr Vivienne Larminie of the Commons 1640-1660 section discusses the military coup which temporarily suspended the Rump Parliament 360 years ago… On the morning of Thursday 13 October 1659 ‘at his usual time’, Speaker William Lenthall was making his way by coach from his London residence to preside over a … Continue reading The ‘Interruption’ of Parliament and the quest for political settlement, October 1659