Early history and development of Parliament Two important developments• Saxon Kings of England established in the 15th century – the ‘Witangemot’ (wise assembly) to advise and counsel.• Early sixteenth century – two separate 1 The pledge by Henry IV that Houses of Parliament are meeting with all money grants had to be approved by the House of the monarch. Commons before being• Main business of early parliamentary considered by the Lords. meetings – WAR AND TAX.• The ‘Upper House’ – LORDS – 2 Commons gain the right to hereditary peerage and senior clergy. participate in the process of law making.• The ‘Lower House’ – COMMONS – elected men from large cities and towns.
By the 16th At the end of the 16thcentury – century it was acceptedthe Tudors were that law put forward bypassing large the King and acceptedamounts of by Parliament hadreligious superiority over all otherlegislation forms of law.throughParliament.
Parliament and the Civil War Parliament and the ‘Glorious’ RevolutionGrowing conflict between Parliamentand Crown developed in the yearsafter the reign of James I. The key point of the ‘Glorious Revolution’ was the introduction of the ‘Bill ofCivil War between Parliament and King – Rights’. This is not to beCharles I – ended in 1649 with the confused with similar Bills –execution of the King. The monarchy France, America – that clarifyand the House of Lords were abolished the position of citizens withand a Protectorate established which regard to government.was dominated by Oliver Cromwell. The Bill of Rights that cameThe monarchy and the Lords were into being after the ‘Gloriousrestored – the relationship between Revolution’ was moreCrown and Parliament, however, would concerned with setting out thenever be the same. position of the monarch.
The Bill of Rights - 1688I agree to limit my royal prerogative and therefore endthe claim of the monarch to absolute power. I alsoaccept the concept of parliamentary government.From now on, my heirs and I will only rule throughParliament – in fact, I’m going to let ministers do mostof the work. Actually.Blimey – I’ve just invented Cabinets and PrimeMinisters. James 11
Parliament in the Industrial Age The ‘Great Reform Act’– 1832 The vote was extended to some middle-classThe history of Parliament in the men and established the principles that thenineteenth century is basically constitution could be changed and that those people who contributed to the developmentthe story of an institution slowly and wealth of society had a right to politicalpassing from the exclusive representation.control of the landed aristocracy The ‘Second Reform Act’ – 1867and accepting the reality of an The franchise is further extended to includeambitious commercial political more middle-class men and some workingclass and a mass, working class class men in urban areas.electorate. The ‘Third Reform Act’ – 1884/1885 Attempted to do for the rural working class what the earlier reform act had achieved forParliament in the 19th century is the urban working class. The Third Reform Actcharacterised by a series of major is really a collection of smaller pieces ofreform acts. legislation that include representation but also deal with corruption and secret ballots.
Parliament and a mass electorateWith the eventual enfranchisement Growing conflict between the Houseof women in the early 20th century of Lords and the House ofthe creation of a mass electorate Commons came to a head in thewas complete. The following points events leading to the PARLIAMENTall relate to the IMPACT of this mass ACT of 1911 that resulted in theelectorate on Parliament. restriction of the powers of the House of Lords to delay governmentThe relationship between the House legislation.of Lords and the House of Commonsunderwent a fundamental change as As the electorate grew – so did thethe reform acts of the 19th and early need for organised and disciplined20th centuries changed the social political parties. These groups sooncomposition of Parliament. dominated Parliament.
The Role of ParliamentLEGITIMATIONParliament confers legitimacy on the exercise of political power.SCRUTINY AND INFLUENCEParliament scrutinises the proposals and actions of the executive.REPRESENTATIONParliament provides representation for the population through MPs in the House ofCommons.RECRUITMENT OF GOVERNMENT MINISTERSMajority of government ministers are recruited from Parliament.LAW MAKINGParliament gives assent to legislative proposals put forward by the government.DELIBERATIONParliament acts as a debating chamber.
KEY CONCEPT - Sovereignty• Sovereignty is the exclusive right to Eurosceptics argue thatpower within a territory or nation. A Parliamentary Sovereigntysovereign state controls its own has been breached by UKaffairs without interference and does membership of the EU.not need to seek permission from EU law is binding on allany other power or institution before member states & effectivelymaking law. takes precedence over UK• Parliamentary sovereignty is the law.power of parliament to make of EU legislation becomes law inrepeal any law and is part of common the UK automatically.law developed from the late 17thcentury onwards. Parliamentary EU treaties such as the Singlesovereignty means that Parliament European Act (1986) and Maastrichtcan pass, change or repeal any law it (1993) expanded the legislative role ofwishes and is not bound in any way the EU and added to concerns aboutby the laws made by earlier the reduction of British Parliamentary sovereignty.Parliaments.
KEY CONCEPT - Democracy The Athenian System: city-state of Athens, 5th century BC, every citizen allowed to attend assembly meetings to determine new laws. Direct Democracy: later developments of the Athenian system based on principles of right to vote and hold office, participate andDemocracy is a key majority votes. Representative Democracy: citizens elect concept representatives to take decisions for them. to consider when Liberal Democracy: the belief in limited studying government and that people should be free Parliament. from arbitrary rule. Emphasis on will of people. Parliamentary Democracy: as opposed to a presidential system such as the USA where the elections for the executive and legislature are held separately.