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|Parliaments of England|
|List of Parliaments of England|
The First Protectorate Parliament was summoned by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell under the terms of the Instrument of Government. It sat for one term from 3 September 1654 until 22 January 1655 with William Lenthall as the Speaker of the House.
During the first nine months of the Protectorate, Cromwell with the aid of the Council of State, had drawn up a list of 84 bills to present to Parliament for ratification. But the members of Parliament had their own and their constituents' interests to promote and in the end not enough of them would agree to work with Cromwell, or to sign a declaration of their acceptance of the Instrument of Government, to make the constitutional arrangements in the Instrument of Government work. Cromwell dissolved the Parliament as soon as it was allowed under the terms of the Instrument of Government, having failed to get any of the 84 bills passed.
The Instrument of Government specified the numbers of MPs that England and Wales sent to the Parliament (400).
By omission from the list rotten boroughs were abolished. A few boroughs not previously enfranchised, notably Leeds and Manchester, received a seat.
All the traditional counties were represented (Durham for the first time). In addition some well established sub-divisions of counties were given separate representation.
There were substantial changes in the number of seats many constituencies received, particularly amongst the counties.
This was the first systematic redistribution of Parliamentary seats in English history and would not be matched for a Royal Parliament until the Reform Act 1832.
In the list below, the name of the constituency (as specified in Section X of the Instrument of Government, with minor spelling changes) is followed by the number of seats allocated. The Boroughs in each county follow the county constituency (indicated by boldface and an * after the constituency name). Those areas marked ** were divisions of a traditional county.
The Instrument of Government also made provision for members from Jersey and Guernsey, without defining the numbers or arrangements for the election of such members. It is not clear that any were actually elected, as they are not mentioned in the Journal of the House of Commons for this Parliament. It is also notable that when on 6 October and 7 October 1654 the House of Commons debated "the distribution of the number of members to serve in future Parliaments", Guibon Goddard MP recorded in his journal that "we agreed with the Instrument, in the whole number of four hundred, Jersey and Guernsey being left out, because not governed by our laws, but by municipal laws of their own; and we differed but little in the particular distribution."
The Lord Protector and his Council were given power to provide for the representation of Scotland and Ireland, which was done by later legislation giving 30 seats to each country. This was the first time Scotland and Ireland were represented in a Westminster Parliament.
Table 1: Constituencies by type
|Number of constituencies||150||14||29||19||212|
Table 2: Constituencies, by number of seats
|Number of constituencies||122||51||4||12||7||5||2||1||4||3||1||212|
Notes: (1) Monmouthshire (3 county seats) included in England, not Wales. (2) Dublin City and County treated as a county constituency (2 seats).
Brecknockshire is attributed 3 seats in the text of the Instrument of Government linked to by this article, but other on-line versions say 2 and that is consistent with the total of 400 seats for England and Wales.
Provision for representation of the shires (marked *) and burghs of Scotland was made by An Ordinance by the Protector for Elections in Scotland of 27 June 1654. The Burgh, amongst those in a district, where the elections were to take place is marked in capitals. The shire of Merse is a historic name for Berwickshire.
Provision for representation of the counties (marked *) and boroughs of Ireland was made by An Ordinance by the Protector for Elections in Ireland of 27 June 1654. The Borough, amongst those in a district, where the elections were to take place is marked in capitals.
The First Protectorate Parliament was preceded by the Barebones Parliament and succeeded by the Second Protectorate Parliament.
The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales, later along with Ireland and Scotland, were governed as a republic after the end of the Second English Civil War and the trial and execution of Charles I. The republic's existence was declared through "An Act declaring England to be a Commonwealth", adopted by the Rump Parliament on 19 May 1649. Power in the early Commonwealth was vested primarily in the Parliament and a Council of State. During the period, fighting continued, particularly in Ireland and Scotland, between the parliamentary forces and those opposed to them, as part of what is now referred to as the Third English Civil War.
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader. He served as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland "and of the dominions thereto belonging" from 1653 until his death, acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government of the new republic.
Richard Cromwell was an English statesman who was the second Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland and son of the first Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell.
The Protectorate was the period during the Commonwealth when England and Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and the English overseas possessions were governed by a Lord Protector as a republic. The Protectorate began in 1653 when, following the dissolution of the Rump Parliament and then Barebone's Parliament, Oliver Cromwell was appointed Lord Protector of the Commonwealth under the terms of the Instrument of Government. In 1659, the Protectorate Parliament was dissolved by the Committee of Safety as Richard Cromwell, who had succeeded his father as Lord Protector, was unable to keep control of the Parliament and the Army. This marked the end of the Protectorate and the start of a second period of rule by the Rump Parliament as the legislature and the Council of State as the executive.
Over the history of the House of Commons, the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) has varied for assorted reasons, with increases in recent years due to increases in the population of the United Kingdom. There are currently 650 constituencies, each sending one MP to the House of Commons, corresponding to approximately one for every 92,000 people, or one for every 68,000 parliamentary electors.
In the United Kingdom (UK), each of the electoral areas or divisions called constituencies elects one member to the House of Commons.
The Second Protectorate Parliament in England sat for two sessions from 17 September 1656 until 4 February 1658, with Thomas Widdrington as the Speaker of the House of Commons. In its first session, the House of Commons was its only chamber; in the second session an Other House with a power of veto over the decisions of the Commons was added.
The Third Protectorate Parliament sat for one session, from 27 January 1659 until 22 April 1659, with Chaloner Chute and Thomas Bampfylde as the Speakers of the House of Commons. It was a bicameral Parliament, with an Upper House having a power of veto over the Commons.
Derbyshire is a former United Kingdom Parliamentary constituency. It was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two Knights of the Shire.
Carrickfergus and Belfast was a constituency in Ireland, that returned a single Member of Parliament to sit in the House of Commons of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Armagh Borough was a constituency represented in the Irish House of Commons from 1613 to 1800.
Lancashire was a county constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England from 1290, then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800, and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832. It was represented by two Members of Parliament, traditionally known as Knights of the Shire until 1832.
Multi-member constituencies existed in the Parliament of the United Kingdom and its predecessor bodies in the component parts of the United Kingdom from the earliest era of elected representation until they were abolished by the Representation of the People Act 1948. Since the 1950 general election, all members of the House of Commons have been elected from single-member constituencies.
Kerry was a constituency represented in the Irish House of Commons to 1800. Following the Act of Union 1800 the county retained two seats.
Antrim County was a constituency represented in the Irish House of Commons until 1800.
The Instrument of Government was a constitution of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland. Drafted by Major-General John Lambert in 1653, it was the first sovereign codified and written constitution in England.
Belfast was a constituency represented in the Irish House of Commons until 1800.
John Clark was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons for various constituencies between 1653 and 1659. He was a colonel in the Parliamentary army.
From Cromwell:The Oliver Cromwell Website: a select bibliography of books and articles: