Parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain
| House of Lords
House of Commons
|1 May 1707
|31 December 1800
| Parliament of England
Parliament of Scotland
|Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
House of Commons political groups
| Final composition of the British House of Commons:
Tories: 424 seats
Whigs: 95 seats
|Ennoblement by the Sovereign or inheritance of a peerage
|First-past-the-post with limited suffrage
|Palace of Westminster, London
Parliament of Ireland
The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. The Acts ratified the treaty of Union which created a new unified Kingdom of Great Britain and created the parliament of Great Britain 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.
Following the Treaty of Union in 1706, Acts of Union ratifying the Treaty were passed in both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, which created a new Kingdom of Great Britain. [ citation needed ]The Acts paved the way for the enactment of the treaty of Union which created a new parliament, referred to as the 'Parliament of Great Britain', based in the home of the former English parliament. All of the traditions, procedures, and standing orders of the English parliament were retained, although there is no provision for this within the treaty; furthermore, the incumbent officers and members representing England comprised the overwhelming majority of the new body. It was not even considered necessary to hold a new general election. While Scots law and Scottish legislation remained separate, new legislation was thereafter to be enacted by the new parliament, with the exception of that pertaining to private right which could only legislated on for the "evident utility" of the people. England's de facto prominence in the new parliament was, and remains, a contentious issue.
After the Hanoverian King George I ascended the British throne in 1714 through the Act of Settlement of 1701, real power continued to shift away from the monarchy. George was a German ruler, spoke poor English, and remained interested in governing his dominions in continental Europe rather than in Britain. He thus entrusted power to a group of his ministers, the foremost of whom was Sir Robert Walpole, and by the end of his reign in 1727 the position of the ministers – who had to rely on Parliament for support – was cemented. George I's successor, his son George II, continued to follow through with his father's domestic policies and made little effort to re-establish monarchical control over the government which was now in firm control by Parliament. By the end of the 18th century the monarch still had considerable influence over Parliament, which was dominated by the English aristocracy, by means of patronage, but had ceased to exert direct power: for instance, the last occasion on which royal assent was withheld was in 1708 by Queen Anne, even this being done only at the request of her ministers.At general elections the vote was restricted to freeholders and landowners, in constituencies that had changed little since the Middle Ages, so that in many "rotten" and "pocket" boroughs seats could be bought, while major cities remained unrepresented, except by the Knights of the Shire representing whole counties. Reformers and Radicals sought parliamentary reform, but as the French Revolutionary Wars developed the British government became repressive against dissent and progress towards reform was stalled.
George II's successor, George III, sought to restore royal supremacy and absolute monarchy, but by the end of his reign the position of the king's ministers – who discovered that they needed the support of Parliament to enact any major changes – had become central to the role of British governance, and would remain so ever after.
During the first half of George III's reign, the monarch still had considerable influence over Parliament, which itself was dominated by the patronage and influence of the English nobility. Most candidates for the House of Commons were identified as Whigs or Tories, but once elected they formed shifting coalitions of interests rather than dividing along clear party lines. At general elections the vote was restricted in most places to property owners, in constituencies which were out of date and did not reflect the growing importance of manufacturing towns or shifts of population, so that in the rotten and pocket boroughs seats in parliament could be bought from the rich landowners who controlled them, while major cities remained unrepresented. Reformers like William Beckford and Radicals beginning with John Wilkes called for reform of the system. In 1780, a draft programme of reform was drawn up by Charles James Fox and Thomas Brand Hollis and put forward by a sub-committee of the electors of Westminster. This included calls for the six points later adopted by the Chartists.
The American War of Independence ended in defeat for a foreign policy that sought to prevent the thirteen American colonies from breaking away and forming their own independent nation, something which George III had fervently advocated, and in March 1782 the king was forced to appoint an administration led by his opponents which sought to curb royal patronage. In November of 1783, he took the opportunity to use his influence in the House of Lords to defeat a bill to reform the Honourable East India Company, dismissed the government of the day, and appointed William Pitt the Younger to form a new government. Pitt had previously called for Parliament to begin to reform itself, but he did not press for long for reforms the king did not like. Proposals Pitt made in April 1785 to redistribute seats from the "rotten boroughs" to London and the counties were defeated in the House of Commons by 248 votes to 174.
In the wake of the French Revolution of 1789, Radical organisations such as the London Corresponding Society sprang up to press for parliamentary reform, but as the French Revolutionary Wars developed the government took extensive repressive measures against feared domestic unrest aping the democratic and egalitarian ideals of the French Revolution and progress toward reform was stalled for decades.
In 1801, the Parliament of the United Kingdom was created when the Kingdom of Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800.
Monmouthshire (One County constituency with two members and one single member Borough constituency) is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England.
Table 1: Constituencies and Members, by type and country
|People per MP
Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country
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 1707 passed 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 in a personal union—were, in the words of the Treaty, "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain".
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that introduced major changes to the electoral system of England and Wales. It reapportioned constituencies to address the unequal distribution of seats and expanded franchise by broadening and standardising the property qualifications to vote. Only qualifying men were able to vote; the Act introduced the first explicit statutory bar to women voting by defining a voter as a male person.
The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially Great Britain, was a sovereign country in Western Europe from 1707 until 1800. The state was created by the 1706 Treaty of Union and ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament at the Palace of Westminster, but distinct legal systems—English law and Scots law—remained in use.
The administrative geography of the United Kingdom is complex, multi-layered and non-uniform. The United Kingdom, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe, consists of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For local government in the United Kingdom, England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own system of administrative and geographic demarcation. Consequently, there is "no common stratum of administrative unit encompassing the United Kingdom".
In the United Kingdom, representative peers were those peers elected by the members of the Peerage of Scotland and the Peerage of Ireland to sit in the British House of Lords. Until 1999, all members of the Peerage of England held the right to sit in the House of Lords; they did not elect a limited group of representatives. All peers who were created after 1707 as Peers of Great Britain and after 1801 as Peers of the United Kingdom held the same right to sit in the House of Lords.
Politics of England forms the major part of the wider politics of the United Kingdom, with England being more populous than all the other countries of the United Kingdom put together. As England is also by far the largest in terms of area and GDP, its relationship to the UK is somewhat different from that of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The English capital London is also the capital of the UK, and English is the dominant language of the UK. Dicey and Morris (p26) list the separate states in the British Islands. "England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark.... is a separate country in the sense of the conflict of laws, though not one of them is a State known to public international law." But this may be varied by statute.
The Parliament of Ireland was the legislature of the Lordship of Ireland, and later the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1297 until 1800. It was modelled on the Parliament of England and from 1537 comprised two chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Lords were members of the Irish peerage and bishops. The Commons was directly elected, albeit on a very restricted franchise. Parliaments met at various places in Leinster and Munster, but latterly always in Dublin: in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Chichester House (1661–1727), the Blue Coat School (1729–31), and finally a purpose-built Parliament House on College Green.
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.
Old Sarum was from 1295 to 1832 a parliamentary constituency of England, of Great Britain, and finally of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It was a so-called rotten borough, with an extremely small electorate that was consequently vastly over-represented and could be used by a patron to gain undue influence. The constituency was on the site of what had been the original settlement of Salisbury, known as Old Sarum. The population and cathedral city had moved in the 14th century to New Sarum, at the foot of the Old Sarum hill. The constituency was abolished under the Reform Act 1832.
"Unreformed House of Commons" is a name given to the House of Commons of Great Britain before it was reformed by the Reform Act 1832, the Irish Reform Act 1832, and the Scottish Reform Act 1832.
The Treaty of Union is the name usually now given to the treaty which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, providing that the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland were to be "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". At the time it was more often referred to as the Articles of Union.
The first Parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain was established in 1707 after the merger of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. It was in fact the 4th and last session of the 2nd Parliament of Queen Anne suitably renamed: no fresh elections were held in England or in Wales, and the existing members of the House of Commons of England sat as members of the new House of Commons of Great Britain. In Scotland, prior to the union coming into effect, the Scottish Parliament appointed sixteen peers and 45 Members of Parliaments to join their English counterparts at Westminster.
Tain Burghs was a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1708 to 1801 and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1832, sometimes known as Northern Burghs. It was represented by one Member of Parliament (MP).
Woodstock, sometimes called New Woodstock, was a parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom named after the town of Woodstock in the county of Oxfordshire.
Events from the year 1707 in Great Britain, created on 1 May this year as a consequence of the 1706 Treaty of Union and its ratification by the 1707 Acts of Union.
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.
Events from the year 1707 in the Kingdom of England, then England.
An Act of Adjournal is secondary legislation made by the High Court of Justiciary, the supreme criminal court of Scotland, to regulate the proceedings of Scottish courts hearing criminal matters. Now primarily derived from the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, the original power to create Acts of Adjournal is derived from an Act of the Parliament of Scotland of 1672. Before promulgation, Acts of Adjournal are reviewed and may be commented upon by the Criminal Courts Rules Council.