House of Commons 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; 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; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
1835 United Kingdom general election
The 1835 United Kingdom general election was called when Parliament was dissolved on 29 December 1834. Polling took place between 6 January and 6 February 1835, the results saw Robert Peel's Conservatives make large gains from their low of the 1832 election, but the Whigs maintained a large majority. Under the terms of the Lichfield House Compact the Whigs had entered into an electoral pact with the Irish Repeal Association of Daniel O'Connell, which had contested the previous election as a separate party; the Radicals were included in this alliance. The eleventh United Kingdom Parliament was dissolved on 29 December 1834; the new Parliament was summoned to meet on 19 February 1835, for a maximum seven-year term from that date. The maximum term could be and was curtailed, by the monarch dissolving the Parliament, before its term expired. At this period there was not one election day. After receiving a writ for the election to be held, the local returning officer fixed the election timetable for the particular constituency or constituencies he was concerned with.
Polling in seats with contested elections could continue for many days. The general election took place between January and February 1835; the first nomination was on 5 January, with the first contest on 6 January and the last contest on 6 February 1835. It was usual for polling in the University constituencies and in Orkney and Shetland to take place about a week after other seats. Disregarding contests in the Universities and Orkney and Shetland, the last poll was on 27 January 1835. Peel ran a minority Conservative government until 8 April 1835, after being unable to form a majority. Melbourne subsequently became Prime Minister forming a Whig government. Craig, F. W. S. British Electoral Facts: 1832–1987, Dartmouth: Gower, ISBN 0900178302 Rallings, Colin. British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, Ashgate Publishing Ltd Walker, B. M. ed. Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland 1801–1922, Royal Irish Academy Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results
William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served for twelve years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread over four terms beginning in 1868 and ending in 1894, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times. Gladstone was born in Liverpool to Scottish parents, he first entered the House of Commons in 1832, beginning his political career as a High Tory, a grouping which became the Conservative Party under Robert Peel in 1834. Gladstone served as a minister in both of Peel's governments, in 1846 joined the breakaway Peelite faction, which merged into the new Liberal Party in 1859, he was Chancellor under Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell. Gladstone's own political doctrine—which emphasised equality of opportunity, free trade, laissez-faire economic policies—came to be known as Gladstonian liberalism, his popularity amongst the working-class earned him the sobriquet "The People's William". In 1868, Gladstone became Prime Minister for the first time.
Many reforms were passed during his first ministry, including the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the introduction of secret voting. After electoral defeat in 1874, Gladstone resigned as leader of the Liberal Party, his Midlothian Campaign of 1879–80 was an early example of many modern political campaigning techniques. After the 1880 general election, Gladstone formed his second ministry, which saw the passage of the Third Reform Act as well as crises in Egypt and Ireland, where his government passed repressive measures but improved the legal rights of Irish tenant farmers. Back in office in early 1886, Gladstone proposed home rule for Ireland but was defeated in the House of Commons; the resulting split in the Liberal Party helped keep them out of office—with one short break—for twenty years. Gladstone formed his last government in 1892, at the age of 82; the Second Home Rule Bill passed through the Commons but was defeated in the House of Lords in 1893. Gladstone left office in March 1894, aged 84, as both the oldest person to serve as Prime Minister and the only Prime Minister to have served four terms.
He died three years later. Gladstone was known affectionately by his supporters as "The People's William" or the "G. O. M.". Historians call him one of Britain's greatest leaders. Born in 1809 in Liverpool, at 62 Rodney Street, William Ewart Gladstone was the fourth son of the merchant John Gladstone, his second wife, Anne MacKenzie Robertson. In 1835, the family name was changed from Gladstones to Gladstone by royal licence, his father was made a baronet, of Fasque and Balfour, in 1846. Although born and brought up in Liverpool, William Gladstone was of purely Scottish ancestry, his grandfather Thomas Gladstones was a prominent merchant from Leith, his maternal grandfather, Andrew Robertson, was Provost of Dingwall and a Sheriff-Substitute of Ross-shire. His biographer John Morley described him as "a highlander in the custody of a lowlander", an adversary as "an ardent Italian in the custody of a Scotsman". One of his earliest childhood memories was being made to stand on a table and say "Ladies and gentlemen" to the assembled audience at a gathering to promote the election of George Canning as MP for Liverpool in 1812.
In 1814, young "Willy" visited Scotland for the first time, as he and his brother John travelled with their father to Edinburgh and Dingwall to visit their relatives. Willy and his brother were both made freemen of the burgh of Dingwall. In 1815, Gladstone travelled to London and Cambridge for the first time with his parents. Whilst in London, he attended a service of thanksgiving with his family at St Paul's Cathedral following the Battle of Waterloo, where he saw the Prince Regent. William Gladstone was educated from 1816–1821 at a preparatory school at the vicarage of St. Thomas' Church at Seaforth, close to his family's residence, Seaforth House. In 1821, William followed in the footsteps of his elder brothers and attended Eton College before matriculating in 1828 at Christ Church, where he read Classics and Mathematics, although he had no great interest in the latter subject. In December 1831, he achieved the double first-class degree. Gladstone served as President of the Oxford Union, where he developed a reputation as an orator, which followed him into the House of Commons.
At university, Gladstone was a denounced Whig proposals for parliamentary reform. Following the success of his double first, William travelled with his brother John on a Grand Tour of Europe, visiting Belgium, France and Italy. Upon his return to England, William was elected to Parliament in 1832 as a Tory Member of Parliament for Newark through the influence of the local patron, the Duke of Newcastle. Although Gladstone entered Lincoln's Inn in 1833, with intentions of becoming a barrister, by 1839 he had requested that his name should be removed from the list because he no longer intended to be called to the Bar. In the House of Commons, Gladstone was a disciple of High Toryism and, as a scion of one of the largest slave-holding families in the world, he opposed both the abolition of slavery and factory legislation. Gladstone's father was a slave owner.
First Parliament of the United Kingdom
In the first Parliament to be held after the Union of Great Britain and Ireland on 1 January 1801, the first House of Commons of the United Kingdom was composed of all 558 members of the former Parliament of Great Britain and 100 of the members of the House of Commons of Ireland. The Parliament of Great Britain had held its last general election in 1796 and last met on 5 November 1800; the final general election for the Parliament of Ireland had taken place in 1797, although by-elections had continued to take place until 1800. The other chamber of the Parliament, the House of Lords, consisted of members of the pre-existing House of Lords in Great Britain, in addition to 28 representative peers elected by members of the former Irish House of Lords. By a proclamation dated 5 November 1800, the members of the new united Parliament were summoned to a first meeting at Westminster on 22 January 1801. At the outset, the Tories led by Addington enjoyed a majority of 108 in the new House of Commons.
Great Britain had been at war with France since 1792. The Prime Minister since 1783, William Pitt the Younger, led a broad wartime coalition of Whig and Tory politicians; the principal opposition to Pitt was a weak faction of Whigs, led by Charles James Fox. For four years after 1797 opposition attendance at Westminster had been sporadic as Fox pursued a strategy of secession from Parliament. Only a small group, led by George Tierney, had attended to oppose the ministers; as Foord observes "only once did the minority reach seventy-five, it was less than ten". The Act of Union 1800 created the United Kingdom by merging the previous Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland; the first Parliament of the United Kingdom was composed of all the members of the last Parliament of Great Britain and some of the members of the final Parliament of Ireland. Pitt wished to grant Catholic emancipation, to help reconcile the Irish Catholic majority with the Union. King George III was opposed to that policy, so Pitt was compelled to resign in March 1801.
The new Tory Prime Minister was Henry Addington. He led another wartime administration of pro-government Whigs and Tories, collectively referred to as the "Addingtonians"; this was however weaker than Pitt's ministry as Pitt and his faction did not join the new government. The younger opposition Whigs became more involved in parliamentary opposition. Charles Grey, on 25 March 1801, tried to persuade the House of Commons to set up a Committee on the State of the Nation, his motion was lost. The Foxite leaders ended their secession from Parliament. Pitt was supportive of the Addington ministry, but was semi-detached from it; as the well-known couplet tellingly observed: "Pitt is to Addington, as London is to Paddington", which indicates the contemporary view of the relative abilities of the two prime ministers. All British MPs and those Irish members representing constituencies which retained two members after the Union automatically retained their seats when the Union took effect on 1 January 1801.
Those members of the Irish House of Commons to sit at Westminster, who represented constituencies still enfranchised after the Union but reduced from two members to one, were selected by drawing lots. If one of the seats in the Irish Parliament was vacant the remaining member for the constituency was automatically chosen for the Westminster Parliament. If both seats were vacant a by-election was held. Monmouthshire is included in Wales in these tables. Sources for this period may include the county in England. Table 1: Constituencies and MPs, by type and country Table 2: Number of seats per constituency, by type and country United Kingdom general elections Members of the 1st UK Parliament from Ireland British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, compiled and edited by Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher. Source: Dates of Elections – Footnote to Table 5.02 British Historical Facts 1760–1830, by Chris Cook and John Stevenson. Source: Types of constituencies – Great Britain His Majesty's Opposition 1714–1830, by Archibald S. Foord Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland 1801–1922, edited by B.
M. Walker. Source: Types of constituencies – Ireland
1865 United Kingdom general election
The 1865 United Kingdom general election saw the Liberals, led by Lord Palmerston, increase their large majority over the Earl of Derby's Conservatives to more than 80. The Whig Party changed its name to the Liberal Party between this one. Palmerston was succeeded by Lord John Russell as Prime Minister. Despite the Liberal majority, the party was divided by the issue of further parliamentary reform, Russell resigned after being defeated in a vote in the House of Commons in 1866, leading to minority Conservative governments under Derby and Benjamin Disraeli; this was the last United Kingdom general election where a party increased its majority after having been returned to office at the previous election with a reduced majority. The 1865 general election was regarded by contemporaries as being a dull contest nationally, which exaggerated the degree of corruption within individual constituencies. In his PhD thesis, Cornelius O'Leary described The Times as having reported "the testimony is unanimous that in the General Election of 1865 there was more profuse and corrupt expenditure than was known before".
As a result of allegations of corruption, 50 election petitions were lodged, of which 35 were pressed to a trial. In four cases a Royal Commission had to be appointed because of widespread corrupt practices in the constituency; as a result, when he became Prime Minister in 1867, Benjamin Disraeli announced that he would introduce a new method for election petition trials, which were determined by a committee of the House of Commons, resulting in the Parliamentary Elections Act 1868, whereby two Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, Exchequer of Pleas or Queen's Bench would be designated to try election petitions with full judicial salaries. Source: Rallings & Thrasher, pp. 8–9 Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
1868 United Kingdom general election in Ireland
The 1868 United Kingdom general election in Ireland resulted in the Liberals under Gladstone strengthening their control over Ireland the south. It was the first election following the Representation of the People Act 1868. A key focus of the Liberal campaign was on their proposal to disestablish the Church of Ireland; the Church of Ireland's official role, as the Protestant national church of a Catholic majority country, had long proved controversial. The Tithe War of the 1830s had resulted in the abolition of tithes, levied on Ireland's population to fund the Church of Ireland. Disestablishment was popular both in Ireland, amongst non-conformists and the Irish diaspora in Britain in the Celtic Fringe; this policy would be enacted following the election by the Irish Church Act 1869. The election marked the high-water point of the Liberals in Ireland, within 17 years they would have no seats at all in Ireland. History of Ireland