Category Archives: Parliamentary life

From parliamentary reporter to Member of Parliament: Robert Spankie (1774-1842)

January’s MP of the Month takes a look at the unusual pre-parliamentary career of Robert Spankie, who was returned for Finsbury in 1832. A ground-breaking parliamentary reporter during the 1790s, Spankie ascended to the editorship of the Morning Chronicle before re-training as a barrister and serving as a controversial advocate-general of Bengal. Continue reading

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Political Prorogations: a view from the Victorian Commons

It’s been a long time since the business of suspending Parliament and starting a new session has generated so much political controversy. Throughout most of the 20th century prorogations invariably tallied with the expectations of most parliamentarians, neatly book-ending a … Continue reading

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The representation of Devon and Cornwall after reform, 1832-68

Last week the History of Parliament and the Devon and Cornwall Record Society hosted a conference at Exeter on ‘The South West and Parliament’. Dr Martin Spychal of the Victorian Commons spoke at the event, and today provides an overview of … Continue reading

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The Speaker and the same question: a view from the Victorian Commons

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
In today’s blog Dr Philip Salmon, editor of the 1832-1945 House of Commons project, explores some of the historical background behind recent Parliamentary rulings relating to Brexit. The rules governing UK parliamentary procedure,…

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The role and power of the House of Lords

To mark Parliament Week 2018, our editor Dr Philip Salmon looks at a key element of Parliament which we don’t usually have much opportunity to reflect on in our work on Victorian MPs and constituencies: the House of Lords. Yet, … Continue reading

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‘So much for the behaviour of the first assemblage of gentlemen’: views from parliament by a Devonshire Tory

Our Victorian MP of the Month is the Conservative MP for Devonshire South, Montagu Parker. His correspondence with his mother between 1835 and 1841 provides a fascinating perspective on life at Westminster. Montagu Edmund Newcombe Parker (1807-1858) is best known … Continue reading

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Voice and Vote: behind the scenes

Originally posted on The History of Parliament:
This blog looks at how the History of Parliament has been involved behind the scenes with the Voice and Vote exhibition which opened in Westminster Hall last week. Dr. Philip Salmon and Dr.…

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The ‘Parliamentary Speechification Table’: quantifying parliamentary debate in 1833

The influx of new members into the House of Commons following the 1832 Reform Act prompted considerable disquiet within established political circles about the effects which this would have on the day-to-day business of Parliament. The Times reported fears that … Continue reading

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MP of the Month: Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, Earl Grosvenor (1825-1899)

Continuing our celebration of the 150th anniversary of the 1867 Reform Act, November’s MP of the Month focuses on one of the most enigmatic figures in the reform crisis of 1866-67, the property-owning magnate and multi-millionaire Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, later … Continue reading

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Reporting Parliament: a view from the Victorian Commons

Today we take it for granted that parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. In the Victorian era, however, there was no ‘official’ record. In this blog to end Parliament Week, Dr Philip Salmon shows how, before the advent of modern … Continue reading

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Minority governments and major change: a Victorian view

For most modern commentators the prospects for minority governments, based on the experience of the last half century or so, don’t look particularly good. Nearly all the recent examples currently being revisited by analysts, such as those of the 1970s, … Continue reading

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The Palace of Westminster: the balance between the traditional and the practical

In this week’s blog Rebekah Moore, one of our AHRC collaborative PhD students, recalls an earlier debate about the cost and location of the UK’s Parliamentary buildings … Last week, a report examining the necessary repairs and alterations to the … Continue reading

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The parliamentary diary of Henry Broadley

One of our early modern colleagues at the History of Parliament, Dr. Stephen Roberts, recently gave a fascinating seminar paper on a parliamentary diary recording events from 1640 and 1641. Inspired by this, our MP of the Month is a … Continue reading

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New book: Politics Personified

One of our former Research Fellows on the 1832-68 project, Dr. Henry Miller, has just published his first book, with Manchester University Press, entitled Politics Personified: Portraiture, Caricature and Visual Culture, 1830-1880. He shares some of the key insights from … Continue reading

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Victorian MPs born at Christmas

Having drafted more than 1,000 biographies of MPs for the History of Parliament’s 1832-68 volume since our project began, we are now able to begin examining particular groups of parliamentarians in more thematic ways. In recent blogs, for example, we … Continue reading

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MP of the month: Sir Harry Neale and ‘outside interests’

The issue of MPs having ‘outside interests’ is not one traditionally associated with the Victorian period, when all MPs were unpaid and had to fund their own election campaigns, often at vast expense. Victorian MPs, almost ipso facto, had to … Continue reading

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Victorian MPs on holiday

With the holiday season well and truly upon us, it seems fitting to consider how the protagonists of the Victorian Commons spent their vacations. The reasons why nineteenth-century MPs holidayed were as diverse as the locations they visited, and often … Continue reading

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MP of the month: Lord Elcho

In the third of our guest blogs, Stephen Lees, one of our leading external contributors and co-editor of the well-known ‘Who’s Who of British Members of Parliament’ volumes, celebrates the career of Lord Elcho, who died one hundred years ago … Continue reading

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‘An organized system of rascality and roguery’: The House of Commons and Derby Day

In 1911 Herbert Samuel contended that the contrast between the House of Commons he knew and that of the previous century was like that between ‘an express train’ and ‘the coach of an earlier age’. To emphasise his point he … Continue reading

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MPs and Queen Victoria’s coronation

Today (28 June) marks the 175th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s coronation at Westminster Abbey. Naturally this major national event was attended by members of both Houses of Parliament. Although it was members of the House of Lords who performed key … Continue reading

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What Not To Wear: The Mover and Seconder of the Address

With the state opening of Parliament just days away, it is worth recalling a ritual connected with the government’s address in reply to the Queen’s speech which for many years was a regular source of entertainment. The address followed the … Continue reading

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The novice MP

With the newest members of the House of Commons having just been returned for constituencies in Corby, Cardiff and Manchester, advice given to novice MPs in the mid-nineteenth century suggests that the stresses faced by new members may have changed … Continue reading

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