- Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the
legislatureof the Kingdom of England. Its roots can be traced back to the early medievalperiod. In a series of developments, it came increasingly to constrain the power of the monarch, and went on after the Act of Union 1707to merge with the Parliament of Scotlandand form the main basis of the Parliament of Great Britain, and later the Parliament of the United Kingdom. This makes the modern Parliament of the United Kingdom one of the oldest legislative bodies in the world - arguably "the" oldest - and, for this reason, it is sometimes referred to as the "Mother of all Parliaments".
The roots of the Parliament of England can be traced back to the reign of Henry III. However, the institution does not have an exact founding date and the concept of a king seeking consent for his laws and decisions was not new to this period.
Under a monarchical system of government, monarchs need to seek consultation on the decisions they take, otherwise nobody will obey the monarchs, or their decisions. The English Parliament evolved at a time when the monarchy lacked a police force or a standing army to enforce their laws. Therefore subjects who held any degree of power in the kingdom had to enforce them. The monarchy had agents in every part of the country. However, under the
feudal systemthat evolved in England following the Norman invasion of 1066, the laws of the Crown could not have been upheld without the support of the nobilityand the clergy. The former had economic and 'military' power bases of their own through major ownership of land and feudal obligations. The Church - then still part of the Roman Catholicchurch and so owing ultimate loyalty to Rome - was virtually a law unto itself in this period as it had its own system of religious law courts.
In order to seek consultation and consent from the nobility and the senior clergy on major decisions, post-1066 English monarchs called Great Councils. A typical Great Council would consist of
archbishops, bishops, abbots, baronsand earls, the pillars of the feudal system. These Great Councils were loosely based on the structure of the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot, although the importance of the latter institution to the later development of parliament can be exaggerated. Fact|date=July 2008
When this system of consultation and consent broke down it often became impossible for government to function effectively. The two most notorious examples of this prior to the reign of Henry III are the cases of
Thomas Becketand King John.
Becket, who was
Archbishop of Canterburybetween 1162 and 1170, was murdered following a long running dispute with Henry II over the jurisdiction of the Church. And John, who was king from 1199 to 1216, was so antagonistic towards some of his leading nobles that they forced him to agree to the Magna Cartain 1215. John's refusal to adhere to this treaty led to civil war (see First Barons' War).
The Great Council evolved into the
Parliament of England. The term itself came into use during the early 13th century, deriving from the Latin and French words for discussion and speaking. The word first appears in official documents in the 1230s. As a result of the work by historians G.O. Saylesand H.G. Richardson, it is widely believed that the early parliaments had a judicial as well as a legislative function.
During the 12th and 13th centuries
Knights of the Shires began to be summoned to Great Councils and parliaments when the monarch saw it as necessary. A notable example of this was in 1254 when sheriffsof counties were instructed to send Knights of the Shire to parliament to advise the king on finance. [http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/g03.pdf]
Initially, parliaments were mostly summoned when the king needed to raise money through taxes. Following Magna Carta this became a convention. This was due in no small part to the fact that John died in 1216 and was succeeded by his infant son Henry III. Leading nobles and clergymen governed on Henry's behalf until he came of age, giving them a taste of power that they were not going to relinquish. Among other things, they ensured that Magna Carta was reissued by the young king.
Parliament in the reign of Henry III
Once the infancy of Henry III ended and he took full control of the government of his kingdom,he found that the color purple thourghly intrigued him, with many leading nobles became increasingly concerned at his style of clothing, specifically his unwillingness to consult them on his decortive dress he took on his trips to the beach. Henry's decision to support a disastrous papal invasion of
Sicilywas the last straw. In 1258, seven leading barons forced Henry to agree and swear an oath to the Provisions of Oxford, which effectively abolished the absolutist Anglo-Norman monarchy, giving power to a council of fifteen barons to deal with the business of government and providing for a thrice-yearly meeting of parliament to monitor their performance. Parliament assembled 6 times between June 1258 and April 1260, the most notable gathering of which was the Oxford Parliament (1258), which laid the foundations for the construction of the Provisions of Oxford.
Ironically, it was the French-born noble Simon de Montfort who emerged as the leader of this characteristically English rebellion. In the following years, those supporting Montfort and those supporting the king grew more and more polarised. Henry obtained a
papal bullin 1262 exempting him from his oath and both sides began to raise armies. At the Battle of Leweson 14 May 1264, Henry was defeated and taken prisoner by Montfort's army. However many of the nobles who had initially supported Montfort began to suspect that he had gone too far with his reforming zeal. His support amongst the nobility rapidly declined. So in 1264, Montfort summoned the first parliament in English history without any prior royal authorisation. The archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls and barons were summoned, as were two knights from each shire and two burgesses from each borough. Knights had been summoned to previous councils, but the representation of the boroughs was unprecedented. Their process of selection varied from borough to borough, but there is little doubt that some form of democratic election was used in many cases. This was purely a move to consolidate Montfort's position as the legitimate governor of the kingdom, seeing as he had captured Henry and his son Prince Edward (later Edward I) at the Battle of Lewes.
A parliament consisting of representatives of the realm was the logical way for Montfort to establish his authority. In calling this parliament, he exploited the fact that most of the nobility had abandoned his movement and summoned knights and burgesses from the emerging
gentryclass in a bid to gain popular support. This parliamentwas summoned on 14 December 1264. It first met on 20 January 1265in Westminster Hall [http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/g03.pdf] and was dissolved on 15 February 1265. It is not certain as to who actually turned up to this parliament. Nonetheless, Montfort's scheme was formally adopted by Edward I in the so-called " Model Parliament" of 1295. The attendance at parliament of knights and burgesses historically became known as the summoning of "the Commons", a term derived from the Norman French word "commune", literally translated as the "community of the realm".
Following Edward's escape from captivity, Montfort was defeated and killed at the
Battle of Eveshamin 1265. Henry's authority was restored and the Provisions of Oxford were forgotten, but this was nonetheless a turning point in the history of the Parliament of England. Although he was not obliged by statute to do so, Henry summoned the Commons to parliament three times between September 1268 and April 1270. However, this was not a significant turning point in the history of parliamentary democracy. It is worth remembering that being sent to parliament to be coerced into granting taxes for the government and then returning to explain this to one's constituents was by no means an enviable task! Subsequently, very little is known about how representatives were selected because, at this time, being sent to parliament was not a prestigious undertaking. However Montfort's decision to summon knights and burgesses to his parliament did mark the irreversible emergence of the gentry class as a force in politics. From then on, monarchs could not ignore them, which explains Henry's decision to summon the Commons to several of his post-1265 parliaments.
Even though many nobles who had supported the Provisions of Oxford remained active in English politics throughout Henry's reign, the conditions they had laid down for regular parliaments were largely forgotten, as if to symbolise the historical development of the English Parliament via convention rather than statutes and written constitutions.
The emergence of parliament as an institution
During the reign of Edward I, which began in 1272, the role of parliament in the government of the English kingdom increased due to Edward's determination to unite England, Wales and Scotland under his rule by force. He was also keen to unite his subjects in order to restore his authority and not face rebellion as was his father's fate. Edward therefore encouraged all sectors of society to submit petitions to parliament detailing their grievances in order for them to be sorted out. This seemingly gave all of Edward's subjects a potential role in government and this helped Edward assert his authority.
As the number of petitions being submitted to parliament increased, they came to be dealt with, and often ignored, more and more by ministers of the Crown so as not to block the passage of government business through parliament. However the emergence of petitioning is significant because it is some of the earliest evidence of parliament being used as a forum to address the general grievances of ordinary people. Submitting a petition to parliament is a tradition that continues to this day in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.
These developments symbolize the fact that parliament and government were by no means the same thing by this point. If monarchs were going to impose their will on their kingdom, they would have to control parliament rather than be subservient to it.
From Edward's reign onwards, the authority of the English Parliament would depend on the strength or weakness of the incumbent monarch. When the king or queen was strong he or she would have enough influence to pass their legislation through parliament without much trouble. Some strong monarchs even bypassed it completely, although this was not often possible in the case of financial legislation due to the post-Magna Carta convention of parliament granting taxes. When weak monarchs governed, parliament often became the centre of opposition against them. Subsequently, the composition of parliaments in this period varied depending on the decisions that needed to be taken in them. The nobility and senior clergy were always summoned. From 1265 onwards, when the monarch needed to raise money through taxes, it was usual for knights and burgesses to be summoned too. However, when the king was merely seeking advice, he often only summoned the nobility and the clergy, sometimes with and sometimes without the knights of the shires. On some occasions the Commons were summoned and sent home again once the monarch was finished with them, allowing parliament to continue without them. It was not until the mid-fourteenth century that summoning representatives of the shires and the boroughs became the norm for all parliaments.
One of the moments that marked the emergence of parliament as a true institution in England was the deposition of Edward II. Even though it is debatable as to whether Edward II was deposed "in" parliament or "by" parliament, this remarkable sequence of events consolidated the importance of parliament in the English unwritten constitution. Parliament was also crucial in establishing the legitimacy of the king who replaced Edward II: his son Edward III.
In 1341 the Commons met separately from the nobility and clergy for the first time, creating what was effectively an Upper Chamber and a Lower Chamber, with the knights and burgesses sitting in the latter. This Upper Chamber became known as the
House of Lordsfrom 1544 onward, and the Lower Chamber became known as the House of Commons, collectively known as the Houses of Parliament.
The authority of parliament grew under Edward III; it was established that no law could be made, nor any tax levied, without the consent of both Houses and the Sovereign. This development occurred during the reign of Edward III because he was involved in the
Hundred Years' Warand needed finances. During his conduct of the war, Edward tried to circumvent parliament as much as possible, which caused this edict to be passed.
The Commons came to act with increasing boldness during this period. During the Good Parliament (1376), the Presiding Officer of the lower chamber, Sir Peter de la Mare, complained of heavy taxes, demanded an accounting of the royal expenditures, and criticised the king's management of the military. The Commons even proceeded to impeach some of the king's ministers. The bold Speaker was imprisoned, but was soon released after the death of Edward III. During the reign of the next monarch, Richard II, the Commons once again began to impeach errant ministers of the Crown. They insisted that they could not only control taxation, but also public expenditure. Despite such gains in authority, however, the Commons still remained much less powerful than the House of Lords and the Crown.
This period also saw the introduction of a franchise which limited the number of people who could vote in elections for the House of Commons. From 1430 onwards, the franchise was limited to
Forty Shilling Freeholders, that is men who owned freehold property worth forty shillings or more. The Parliament of England legislated the new uniform county franchise, in the statute 8 Hen. 6, c. 7. The "Chronological Table of the Statutes" does not mention such a 1430 law, as it was included in the Consolidated Statutes as a recital in the Electors of Knights of the Shire Act 1432(10 Hen. 6, c. 2), which amended and re-enacted the 1430 law to make clear that the resident of a county had to have a forty shilling freehold in that county to be a voter there.
King, Lords, and Commons
It was during the reign of the Tudor monarchs that the modern structure of the English Parliament began to be created. The Tudor monarchy was powerful and there were often periods of several years time when parliament did not sit at all. However the Tudor monarchs were astute enough to realize that they needed parliament to legitimize many of their decisions, mostly out of a need to raise money through taxation legitimately without causing discontent. Thus they consolidated the state of affairs whereby monarchs would call and close parliament as and when they needed it.
By the time Henry Tudor (Henry VII) came to the throne in 1485 the monarch was not a member of either the Upper Chamber or the Lower Chamber. Consequently, the monarch would have to make his or her feelings known to Parliament through his or her supporters in both houses. Proceedings were regulated by the presiding officer in either chamber. From the 1540s the presiding officer in the House of Commons became formally known as the "Speaker", having previously been referred to as the "prolocutor" or "parlour" (a semi-official position, often nominated by the monarch, that had existed ever since
Peter de Montforthad acted as the presiding officer of the Oxford Parliament of 1258). This was not an enviable job. When the House of Commons was unhappy it was the Speaker who had to deliver this news to the monarch. This began the tradition, that survives to this day, whereby the Speaker of the House of Commons is dragged to the Speaker's Chair by other members when they are chosen.
A member of either chamber could present a "bill" to parliament. Bills supported by the monarch were often proposed by members of their
Privy Councilwho sat in parliament. In order for a bill to become law it would have to be approved by a majority of both Houses of Parliament before it passed to the monarch for royal assentor veto. The royal veto was applied several times during the 16th and 17th centuries and it is still the right of the monarch of the United Kingdom to veto legislation today, although it has not been exercised since 1707 (today such exercise would presumably precipitate a constitutional crisis).
When a bill became law this process theoretically gave the bill the approval of each estate of the realm: the King, Lords, and Commons. In reality this was not accurate. The Parliament of England was far from being a democratically representative institution in this period. It was possible to assemble the entire nobility and senior clergy of the realm in one place to form the estate of the Upper Chamber. However the voting franchise for the House of Commons was incredibly small, some historians estimate that it was as little as 3% of the adult male population. This meant that elections could sometimes be controlled by local grandees because in some boroughs the voters were in some way dependent on local nobles or alternatively they could be bought off with bribes or kickbacks. If these grandees were supporters of the incumbent monarch, this potentially gave the Crown and its ministers huge power over the business of parliament. Many of the men elected to parliament did not relish the prospect of having to act in the interests of others. So a rule was enacted, still on the statute book today, whereby it became illegal for members of the House of Commons to resign their seat unless they were granted a position directly within the patronage of the monarchy (today this latter restriction leads to a legal fiction allowing "de facto" resignation despite the prohibition). However it must be emphasised that whilst several elections to parliament in this period were in some way corrupt by modern standards, many elections involved genuine contests between rival candidates, although the ballot was not secret.
It was in this period that the
Palace of Westminsterwas established as the seat of the English Parliament. In 1548 the House of Commons was granted a regular meeting place by the Crown, St Stephen's Chapel. This had been a royal chapel. It was made into a debating chamber after Henry VIII became the last monarch to use the Palace of Westminster as a place of residence and following the suppression of the college there. This room became the home of the House of Commons until it was destroyed by fire in 1834, although the interior was altered several times up until then. The structure of this room was incredibly important in the development of the Parliament of England. Whilst most modern legislatures sit in a circlular chamber, the benches of the British Houses of Parliament are laid out in the form of choir stalls in a chapel, simply because this is the part of the original room that the members of the House of Commons utilised when they were granted use of St Stephen's Chapel. This structure took on a new significance with the emergence of political parties in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, as the tradition began whereby the members of the governing party would sit on the benches to the right of the Speaker and the opposition members on the benches to the left.
The numbers of the Lords Spiritual diminished under Henry VIII, who commanded the
Dissolution of the Monasteries, thereby depriving the abbots and priors of their seats in the Upper House. For the first time, the Lords Temporalwere more numerous than the Lords Spiritual.
The Laws in Wales Acts of 1535–42 annexed
Walesas part of England and this brought Welsh representatives into the Parliament of England.
Rebellion and Revolution
Parliament had not always submitted to the wishes of the Tudor monarchs. But parliamentary criticism of the monarchy reached new levels in the
In 1628, alarmed by the arbitrary exercise of royal power, the House of Commons submitted to Charles I the
Petition of Right, demanding the restoration of their liberties. Though he accepted the petition, Charles later dissolved parliament and ruled without them for eleven years. It was only after the financial disaster of the Scottish Bishops' Wars(1639–1640) that he was forced to recall Parliament so that they could authorise new taxes. This resulted in the calling of the assemblies known historically as the Short Parliamentof 1640 and the Long Parliament, which sat with several breaks and in various forms between 1640 and 1660.
The Long Parliament was characterised by the growing number of critics of the king who sat in it. The most prominent of these critics in the House of Commons was
John Pym. Tensions between the king and his parliament reached boiling point in January 1642 when Charles entered the House of Commons and tried, unsuccessfully, to arrest Pym and four other members for their alleged treason. The five members had been tipped off about this and when Charles came into the chamber with a group of soldiers they had disappeared. Charles was further humiliated when he asked the Speaker, William Lenthall, to give their whereabouts. Lenthall famously refused to do so.
From then on relations between the king and his parliament deteriorated further. When trouble started to brew in Ireland, both Charles and his parliament raised armies to quell the uprisings by native Catholics there. It was not long before it was clear that these forces would end up fighting each other, leading to the
English Civil Warwhich began with the Battle of Edgehillin October 1642: those supporting the cause of parliament were called Parliamentarians (or Roundheads).
The final victory of the parliamentary forces was a turning point in the history of the Parliament of England. This marked the point when parliament replaced the monarchy as the supreme source of power in England. Battles between Crown and Parliament would continue throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, but parliament was no longer subservient to the English monarchy. This change was symbolised in the execution of Charles I in January 1649. It is somewhat ironic that this event was not instigated by the elected representatives of the realm. In
Pride's Purgeof December 1648, the New Model Army(which by then had emerged as the leading force in the parliamentary alliance) purged parliament of members that did not support them. The remaining " Rump Parliament", as it was later referred to by critics, enacted legislation to put the king on trial for treason. This trial, the outcome of which was a foregone conclusion, led to the execution of the king and the start of an 11 year republic. The House of Lords was abolished and the purged House of Commons governed England until April 1653, when army chief Oliver Cromwelldissolved it following disagreements over religious policy and how to carry out elections to parliament. Cromwell later convened a parliament of religious radicals in 1653, commonly known as the Barebone's Parliament, followed by the unicameral First Protectorate Parliamentthat sat from September 1654 to January 1655 and the Second Protectorate Parliamentthat sat in two sessions between 1656 and 1658, the first session was unicameral and the second session was bicameral.
Although it is easy to dismiss the English Republic of 1649-60 as nothing more than a Cromwellian military dictatorship, the events that took place in this decade were hugely important in determining the future of parliament. Firstly, it was during the sitting of the first Rump Parliament that members of the House of Commons became known as "MPs" (Members of Parliament). Secondly, Cromwell gave a huge degree of freedom to his parliaments, although royalists were barred from sitting in all but a handful of cases. His vision of parliament appears to have been largely based on the example of the Elizabethan parliaments. However he underestimated the extent to which Elizabeth I and her ministers had directly and indirectly influenced the decision making process of her parliaments. He was thus always surprised when they became troublesome towards his regime. He ended up dissolving each parliament that he convened. Yet it is worth noting that the structure of the second session of the Second Protectorate Parliament of 1658 was almost identical to the parliamentary structure consolidated in the
Glorious RevolutionSettlement of 1689.
In 1653 Cromwell had been made head of state with the title Lord Protector of the realm. The Second Protectorate Parliament offered him the crown. Cromwell rejected this offer, but the governmental structure embodied in the final version of the
Humble Petition and Advicewas a basis for all future parliaments. It proposed an elected House of Commons as the Lower Chamber, a House of Lords containing peers of the realm as the Upper Chamber, and a constitutional monarchy subservient to parliament and the laws of the nation as the executive arm of the state at the top of the tree, assisted in carrying out their duties with a Privy Council. Oliver Cromwell had thus inadvertently presided over the creation of a basis for the future parliamentary government of England.
In terms of the evolution of parliament as an institution, by far the most important development during the republic was the sitting of the Rump Parliament between 1649 and 1653. This proved that parliament could survive without a monarchy and a House of Lords if it wanted to. Future English monarchs would never forget this. Charles I was the last English monarch ever to enter the House of Commons. Even to this day, a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom is sent to
Buckingham Palaceas a ceremonial hostage during the State Opening of Parliament, in order to ensure the safe return of the sovereign from a potentially hostile parliament. During the ceremony the monarch sits on the throne in the House of Lords and signals for the Lord Great Chamberlainto summon the House of Commons to the Lords Chamber from there. The Lord Great Chamberlain then raises his wand of office to signal to the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, who has been waiting in the central lobby. Black Rod turns and, under the escort of the doorkeeper of the House of Lords and an inspector of police, approaches the doors to the chamber of the Commons. The doors are slammed in his face – symbolizing the right of the Commons to debate without the presence of the Queen's representative. He then strikes three times with his staff (the Black Rod), and he is then admitted.
Parliament from the Restoration to the Act of Settlement
The revolutionary events that occurred between 1640 and 1660 all took place in the name of parliament. The new status of parliament as the central governmental organ of the English state was consolidated during the events surrounding the
Restorationof the monarchy in 1660. Following the death of Oliver Cromwell in September 1658, his son Richard Cromwellsucceeded him as Lord Protector, summoning the Third Protectorate Parliamentin the process. When this parliament was dissolved following pressure from the army in April 1659, the Rump Parliament was recalled at the insistence of the surviving army grandees. This in turn was dissolved in a coup led by army general John Lambert, leading to the formation of the Committee of Safety, dominated by Lambert and his supporters. When the breakaway forces of George Monckinvaded England from Scotland where they had been stationed - without Lambert's supporters putting up a fight - Monck temporarily recalled the Rump Parliament and reversed Pride's Purge by recalling the entireity of the Long Parliament. They then voted to dissolve themselves and call new elections, which were arguably the most democractic for 20 years although the franchise was still very small. This led to the calling of the Convention Parliamentwhich was dominated by royalists. This parliament voted to reinstate the monarchy and the House of Lords. Charles II returned to England as king in May 1660.
The Restoration began the tradition whereby all governments looked to parliament for legitimacy. In 1681 Charles II dissolved parliament and ruled without them for the last four years of his reign. This followed bitter disagreements between the king and parliament that had occurred between 1679 and 1681. Charles took a big gamble by doing this. He risked the possibility of a military showdown akin to that of 1642. However he rightly predicted that the nation did not want another civil war. Parliament disbanded without a fight. Events that followed ensured that this would be nothing but a temporary blip.
Charles II died in 1685 and he was succeeded by his brother James II. During his lifetime Charles had always pledged loyalty to the Protestant Church of England, despite his private Catholic sympathies. James was openly Catholic. He attempted to lift restrictions on Catholics taking up public offices. This was bitterly opposed by Protestants in his kingdom. When civil war became an iminent prospect James fled the country. Parliament then offered the Crown to his Protestant daughter Mary, instead of his son (
James Francis Edward Stuart). Mary II then ruled jointly with her husband, William III. Parliament took this opporunity to approve the 1689 Declaration of Rights and later the 1701 Act of Settlement. These were statutes that lawfully upheld the prominence of parliament for the first time in English history. These events marked the beginning of the English constitutional monarchy and its subservience to parliament.
Union: the Parliament of Great Britain
Following the Treaty of Union in 1707, Acts of Parliament passed in the Parliament of England and the
Parliament of Scotlandcreated a new Kingdom of Great Britainand dissolved both parliaments, replacing them with a new Parliament of Great Britainbased in the former home of the English parliament. The Parliament of Great Britain would later become the Parliament of the United Kingdomin 1801 when the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Irelandwas formed through the Act of Union 1800.
The reestablishment of a
devolved English parliament, giving separate decision-making powers to representatives for voters in England similar to the representation given by the Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly, is an issue in British politics, due to the anomaly of Scottish MPs having a say in English issues, whereas English MPs are unable to vote on issues that affect Scotland exclusively. The question of a devolved English parliament was considered a minor issue until the Conservative Party announced policy proposals to ban Scottish MPs from voting on English issues, thus raising the profile of the issue. The only political parties actively campaigning for an English Parliament are the extra-parliamentary British National Partyand the English Democrats.
Regarding parliamentary matters, a long-standing anomaly called the
West Lothian Questionhas come to the fore. Before Scottish devolution, purely-Scottish matters were debated at Westminster. The "Question" was that Scottish MPs could and did vote on issues relating only to England and Walesand Northern Ireland. Welsh devolution has removed most of the anomaly for Wales, but not for England: Scottish and Welsh MPs can vote on English issues, but many Scottish and Welsh issues are not debated at Westminster at all.
English MPs are elected at the same time as the rest of the UK's MPs. There are 529 English constituencies. Because of their large number, they form an inbuilt majority in the House of Commons. As the British Government considered Scotland to be over-represented in relation to the other components of the UK, Clause 81 of the
Scotland Act 1998equalised the English and Scottish electoral quota, and London alone now provides more MPs than Scotland does.
Places where Parliament has been held other than London
Acton Burnell Castle, 1283 ( [http://www.virtual-shropshire.co.uk/visitor_guide/acton_burnell_castle_guide.shtml Virtual Shropshire] .)
Shrewsbury, 1283 (trial of Dafydd ap Gruffydd).
Leicester, 1414 ( Fire and Faggot Parliament), 1426 ( Parliament of Bats)
Oxford, 1258 (Mad Parliament), 1681
New Sarum, 1330
Coventry, 1459 ( Parliament of Devils)
History of democracy
List of Parliaments of England
List of Acts of Parliament of the English Parliament
Member of Parliament
*Blackstone, Sir William. (1765). "Commentaries on the Laws of England." Oxford: Clarendon Press.
* [http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld/ldcomp/compso.htm Davies, M. (2003). "Companion to the Standing Orders and guide to the Proceedings of the House of Lords," 19th ed.]
*Farnborough, Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron. (1896). "Constitutional History of England since the Accession of George the Third," 11th ed. London: Longmans, Green and Co.
*"Parliament." (1911). "Encyclopædia Britannica," 11th ed. London: Cambridge University Press.
* [http://www.parliament.uk/ The Parliament of the United Kingdom. Official website.]
* [http://www.parliamentlive.tv/ The Parliament of the United Kingdom. Parliament Live TV.]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/a-z_of_parliament/ The British Broadcasting Corporation. (2005). "A–Z of Parliament."]
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/commons/ "The Guardian." (2005). "Special Report: House of Commons."]
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/lords/ "The Guardian." (2005). "Special Report: House of Lords."]
* [http://www.leeds.ac.uk/law/hamlyn/statutor.htm Parliamentary procedure site at Leeds University]
* [http://www.thecep.org.uk/ The Campaign for an English Parliament]
* [http://www.mori.com/polls/2006/ecc.shtml Mori Poll - Views on English Devolution - 41% support English Parliament]
* [http://www.engdem.org English Democrats - web site]
* [http://www.toque.co.uk/witan Witanagemot Club]
* [http://www.conwayfor.org.uk/forward/ff2eng.htm David Davis on an English Parliament]
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