House of Commons of Great Britain

Last updated
The Honourable the Commons of the Kingdom of Great Britain in Parliament assembled
Coat of Arms of Great Britain (1714-1801).svg
Royal coat of arms of Great Britain, 1714-1800
Type
Type
History
Established 1 May 1707
Disbanded 31 December 1800
Preceded by House of Commons of England
Third Estate of the Parliament of Scotland
Succeeded by House of Commons of the United Kingdom
Leadership
Henry Addington
Since 1789
Seats 558
Elections
First past the post with limited suffrage
Meeting place
St Stephen's Chapel, Palace of Westminster, Westminster, London
Footnotes
See also:
Irish House of Commons

The House of Commons of Great Britain was the lower house of the Parliament of Great Britain between 1707 and 1801. In 1707, as a result of the Acts of Union of that year, it replaced the House of Commons of England and the third estate of the Parliament of Scotland, as one of the most significant changes brought about by the Union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Parliament of Great Britain parliament from 1714 to 1800

The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and dissolved the separate English and Scottish parliaments in favour of a single parliament, located in the former home of the English parliament in the Palace of Westminster, near the City of London. This lasted nearly a century, until the Acts of Union 1800 merged the separate British and Irish Parliaments into a single Parliament of the United Kingdom with effect from 1 January 1801.

Acts of Union 1707 Acts of Parliament creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain

The Acts of Union were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, and the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union that had been agreed on 22 July 1706, following negotiation between commissioners representing the parliaments of the two countries. By the two Acts, the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland—which at the time were separate states with separate legislatures, but with the same monarch—were, in the words of the Treaty, "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain".

House of Commons of England parliament of England up to 1707

The House of Commons of England was the lower house of the Parliament of England from its development in the 14th century to the union of England and Scotland in 1707, when it was replaced by the House of Commons of Great Britain. In 1801, with the union of Great Britain and Ireland, that house was in turn replaced by the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

Contents

Pitt addressing the House in 1793 William Pitt addressing the House of Commons on the outbreak of war with Austria (by Karl Anton Hickel).jpg
Pitt addressing the House in 1793

In the course of the 18th century, the office of Prime Minister developed. The notion that a government remains in power only as long as it retains the support of Parliament also evolved, leading to the first ever motion of no confidence, when Lord North's government failed to end the American Revolution. The modern notion that only the support of the House of Commons is necessary for a government to survive, however, was of later development. Similarly, the custom that the Prime Minister is always a Member of the Lower House, rather than the Upper one, did not evolve until the twentieth century.

A motion of no-confidence, alternatively vote of no confidence, or (unsuccessful) confidence motion, is a statement or vote which states that a person in a position of responsibility is no longer deemed fit to hold that position, perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel detrimental. As a parliamentary motion, it demonstrates to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government. If a no confidence motion is passed against an individual minister they have to give their resignation along with the entire council of ministers.

American Revolution Colonial revolt in which the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain

The American Revolution was a colonial revolt that took place between 1765 and 1783. The American Patriots in the Thirteen Colonies won independence from Great Britain, becoming the United States of America. They defeated the British in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) in alliance with France and others.

The business of the house was controlled by an elected Speaker. The Speaker's official role was to moderate debate, make rulings on procedure, announce the results of votes, and the like. The Speaker decided who may speak and had the powers to discipline members who break the procedures of the house. The Speaker often also represented the body in person, as the voice of the body in ceremonial and some other situations. The title was first recorded in 1377 to describe the role of Thomas de Hungerford in the Parliament of England. By convention, Speakers are normally addressed in Parliament as Mister Speaker, if a man, or Madam Speaker, if a woman.

Speaker (politics) presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body

The speaker of a deliberative assembly, especially a legislative body, is its presiding officer, or the chair. The title was first used in 1377 in England.

In 1801, the House was enlarged to become the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, as a result of the Act of Union of 1800 which combined Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. [1]

House of Commons of the United Kingdom Lower house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster. Officially, the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House.

Kingdom of Ireland Historical kingdom on the island of Ireland between 1542 and 1801

The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, peerage, legal system, and state church.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Historical sovereign state from 1801 to 1927

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.

Creation

The members of the last House of Commons of England had been elected between 7 May and 6 June 1705, and from 1707 they all continued to sit as members of the new House of Commons. The last general election in Scotland had been held in the autumn of 1702, and from 1707 only forty-five of the members of the Parliament of Scotland joined the new house. In Scotland there was also no new election from the burghs, and the places available were filled by co-option from the last Parliament.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Parliament of Scotland legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland

The Parliament of Scotland was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland. The parliament, like other such institutions, evolved during the Middle Ages from the king's council of bishops and earls. It is first identifiable as a parliament in 1235, during the reign of Alexander II, when it was described as a "colloquium" and already possessed a political and judicial role. By the early fourteenth century, the attendance of knights and freeholders had become important, and from 1326 commissioners from the burghs attended. Consisting of the "three estates" of clergy, nobility and the burghs sitting in a single chamber, the parliament gave consent for the raising of taxation and played an important role in the administration of justice, foreign policy, war, and all manner of other legislation. Parliamentary business was also carried out by "sister" institutions, such as General Councils or Convention of Estates. These could carry out much business also dealt with by parliament – taxation, legislation and policy-making – but lacked the ultimate authority of a full parliament.

Co-option has two common meanings. It may refer to the process of adding members to an elite group at the discretion of members of the body, usually to manage opposition and so maintain the stability of the group. Outsiders are ‘co-opted’ by being given a degree of power on the grounds of their élite status, specialist knowledge, or potential ability to threaten essential commitments or goals.

Parliamentary constituencies

The constituencies which elected members in England and Wales remained unchanged throughout the existence of the Parliament of Great Britain. [1]

England and Wales Administrative jurisdiction within the United Kingdom

England and Wales is a legal jurisdiction covering England and Wales, two of the four nations of the United Kingdom. "England and Wales" forms the constitutional successor to the former Kingdom of England and follows a single legal system, known as English law.

Table of Constituencies and Members of the Parliament
CountryBCCCUCTotal CBMCMUMTotal Members
England [2] 203402245405804489
Wales [2] 12120241212024
Scotland15300451530045
Total2308223144321224558

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 Chris Cook & John Stevenson, British Historical Facts 1760-1830 (The Macmillan Press, 1980)
  2. 1 2 Monmouthshire, with one county constituency represented by two members and one single-member borough constituency, is included in England. In later centuries it was included in Wales.

Further reading

Coordinates: 51°29′59.6″N0°07′28.8″W / 51.499889°N 0.124667°W / 51.499889; -0.124667