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
Constitution of the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom does not have a codified constitution such as other countries tend to have. Instead of such a constitution, certain documents stand to serve as replacements in lieu of one; these texts and their provisions therein are considered to be constitutional, such that the "constitution of the United Kingdom" or "British constitution" may refer to a number of historical and momentous laws and principles like the Acts of Union 1707 and the Acts of Union 1800 which formulate the country's body politic. Thus the term "UK constitution" is sometimes said to refer to an "unwritten" or uncodified constitution; the British constitution draws from four sources: statute law, common law, parliamentary conventions, works of authority. Similar to a constitutional document, it concerns both the relationship between the individual and the state and the functioning of the legislature, the executive, the judiciary. Since the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the concept of parliamentary sovereignty has been the bedrock of the British legislative constitution.
The statutes passed by Parliament are the supreme and final source of law in the UK. It follows that Parliament can change the constitution by passing new statutes through Acts of Parliament. There has been some debate about whether parliamentary sovereignty remained intact in the light of the UK's membership in the European Union, an argument, used by proponents of leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum. Another core constitutional principle, the rule of law, is a phrase, popularized by legal scholar Albert Dicey in his 1885 work Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution, recognized by the British Parliament as a work of authority on the constitution. Acts of Parliament are bills which have received the approval of Parliament – that is, the Monarch, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. On rare occasions, the House of Commons uses the "Parliament Acts" to pass legislation without needing the approval of the House of Lords, it is unheard of in modern times for the Monarch to refuse to assent to a bill, though the possibility was contemplated by George V in relation to the fiercely controversial Government of Ireland Act 1914.
Acts of Parliament are among the most important sources of the constitution. According to the traditional view, Parliament has the power to legislate however it wishes on any subject it wishes. For example, most of the iconic medieval statute known as Magna Carta has been repealed since 1828, despite being regarded as sacrosanct, it has traditionally been the case that the courts are barred from questioning any Act of Parliament, a principle that can be traced back to the medieval period. On the other hand, this principle has not been without its dissidents and critics over the centuries, attitudes among the judiciary in this area may be changing. One consequence of the principle of parliamentary sovereignty is that there is no hierarchy among Acts of Parliament: all parliamentary legislation is, in principle, of equal validity and effectiveness. However, the judgment of Lord Justice Laws in the Thoburn case in 2002 indicated that there may be a special class of "constitutional statutes" such as Magna Carta, the Human Rights Act 1998, the European Communities Act 1972, the Acts of Union and Bill of Rights which have a higher status than other legislation.
This part of his judgment was "obiter" – and, was controversial. It remains to be seen. Treaties do not, on ratification, automatically become incorporated into UK law. Important treaties have been incorporated into domestic law by means of Acts of Parliament; the European Convention on Human Rights, for example, was given "further effect" into domestic law through the preamble of the Human Rights Act 1998. The Treaty of Union of 1707 was important in creating the unitary state which exists today; the treaty was between the governments of England and Scotland and was put into effect by two Acts of Union which were passed by the Parliaments of both nations. The Treaty, along with the subsequent Acts, brought into existence the Kingdom of Great Britain, uniting the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. Common law legal systems exist in Northern Ireland and in England and Wales, but not in Scotland which has a hybrid system which includes a great deal of Common Law. Court judgments commonly form a source of the constitution: speaking in English Law, judgments of the higher courts form precedents or case law that binds lower courts and judges.
However Scots Law does not accord the same status to precedent, judgments in one legal system do not have a direct effect in the other legal systems. Important court judgments include those in the Case of Proclamations, the Ship money case and Entick v Carrington, all of which imposed limits on the power of the executive. A constitutional precedent applicable to British colonies is Campbell v Hall, which extended those same constitutional limitations to any territory, granted a representative assembly. Many British constitutional conventions are ancient in origin, though others date from within living memory; such conventions, which include the duty of the Monarch to act on the advice of his or her ministers, are not formally enforceable in a court of law. Most are works written b
Public bill committee
In the British House of Commons, public bill committees consider Bills – proposed Acts of Parliament. The House of Lords does not have such committees, as Bills are considered by the House as a whole; when a Bill has received its Second Reading in the House of Commons, it reaches its committee stage. The Bill is usually sent to a public bill committee for consideration. However, some bills are considered not by a public bill committee but by a Committee of the Whole House; this applies to some key clauses of Finance Bills, which are proposed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer every year in March/April, to some occasional bills such as the 1998/99 House of Lords Reform Bill. The job of public bill committees is to consider amendments to a Bill; the committee considers each Bill clause by clause, may amend it. Under the post-2006 House of Commons procedure, public bill committees may take a limited amount of evidence on certain bills committed to them. Members of the public can make written submissions to public bill committees after the Second Reading debate, by emailing the Scrutiny Unit.
The composition of the committee is proportional to that of the House itself, so it is rare that amendments are accepted that are contrary to a majority Government's wishes. As the overall purpose of a Bill has been set by its Second Reading in the House, amendments at the committee stage may not make drastic changes
House of Lords
The House of Lords known as the House of Peers, is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is else by heredity or official function. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Unlike the elected House of Commons, members of the House of Lords are appointed; the membership of the House of Lords is drawn from the peerage and is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. The Lords Spiritual are 26 bishops in the established Church of England. Of the Lords Temporal, the majority are life peers who are appointed by the monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. However, they include some hereditary peers including four dukes. Membership was once an entitlement of all hereditary peers, other than those in the peerage of Ireland, but under the House of Lords Act 1999, the right to membership was restricted to 92 hereditary peers.
Since 2008, only one of them is female. While the House of Commons has a defined number of seats membership, the number of members in the House of Lords is not fixed; the House of Lords is the only upper house of any bicameral parliament in the world to be larger than its lower house. The House of Lords scrutinises bills, it reviews and amends Bills from the Commons. While it is unable to prevent Bills passing into law, except in certain limited circumstances, it can delay Bills and force the Commons to reconsider their decisions. In this capacity, the House of Lords acts as a check on the House of Commons, independent from the electoral process. Bills can be introduced into the House of Commons. While members of the Lords may take on roles as government ministers, high-ranking officials such as cabinet ministers are drawn from the Commons; the House of Lords has its own support services, separate from the Commons, including the House of Lords Library. The Queen's Speech is delivered in the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament.
In addition to its role as the upper house, until the establishment of the Supreme Court in 2009, the House of Lords, through the Law Lords, acted as the final court of appeal in the United Kingdom judicial system. The House has a Church of England role, in that Church Measures must be tabled within the House by the Lords Spiritual. Today's Parliament of the United Kingdom descends, in practice, from the Parliament of England, though the Treaty of Union of 1706 and the Acts of Union that ratified the Treaty in 1707 and created a new Parliament of Great Britain to replace the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland; this new parliament was, in effect, the continuation of the Parliament of England with the addition of 45 MPs and 16 Peers to represent Scotland. The House of Lords developed from the "Great Council"; this royal council came to be composed of ecclesiastics and representatives of the counties of England and Wales. The first English Parliament is considered to be the "Model Parliament", which included archbishops, abbots, earls and representatives of the shires and boroughs of it.
The power of Parliament grew fluctuating as the strength of the monarchy grew or declined. For example, during much of the reign of Edward II, the nobility was supreme, the Crown weak, the shire and borough representatives powerless. In 1569, the authority of Parliament was for the first time recognised not by custom or royal charter, but by an authoritative statute, passed by Parliament itself. During the reign of Edward II's successor, Edward III, Parliament separated into two distinct chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords; the authority of Parliament continued to grow, during the early 15th century both Houses exercised powers to an extent not seen before. The Lords were far more powerful than the Commons because of the great influence of the great landowners and the prelates of the realm; the power of the nobility declined during the civil wars of the late 15th century, known as the Wars of the Roses. Much of the nobility was killed on the battlefield or executed for participation in the war, many aristocratic estates were lost to the Crown.
Moreover, feudalism was dying, the feudal armies controlled by the barons became obsolete. Henry VII established the supremacy of the monarch, symbolised by the "Crown Imperial"; the domination of the Sovereign continued to grow during the reigns of the Tudor monarchs in the 16th century. The Crown was at the height of its power during the reign of Henry VIII; the House of Lords remained more powerful than the House of Commons, but the Lower House continued to grow in influence, reaching a zenith in relation to the House of Lords during the middle 17th century. Conflicts between the King and the Parliament led to the English Civil War during the 1640s. In 1649, after the defeat and execution of King Charles I, the Commonwealth of England was declared, but the nation was under the overall control of Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England, S
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England, its name, which derives from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building-complex destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the New Palace that stands today. The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and, for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. Committees appointed by both houses manage the building and report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and to the Lord Speaker; the first royal palace constructed on the site dated from the 11th century, Westminster became the primary residence of the Kings of England until fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512.
After that, it served as the home of the Parliament of England, which had met there since the 13th century, as the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall. In 1834 an greater fire ravaged the rebuilt Houses of Parliament, the only significant medieval structures to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft, the Jewel Tower. In the subsequent competition for the reconstruction of the Palace, the architect Charles Barry won with a design for new buildings in the Gothic Revival style inspired by the English Perpendicular Gothic style of the 14th–16th centuries; the remains of the Old Palace were incorporated into its much larger replacement, which contains over 1,100 rooms organised symmetrically around two series of courtyards and which has a floor area of 112,476 m2. Part of the New Palace's area of 3.24 hectares was reclaimed from the River Thames, the setting of its nearly 300-metre long façade, called the River Front.
Augustus Pugin, a leading authority on Gothic architecture and style, assisted Barry and designed the interior of the Palace. Construction started in 1840 and lasted for 30 years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects. Major conservation work has taken place since to reverse the effects of London's air pollution, extensive repairs followed the Second World War, including the reconstruction of the Commons Chamber following its bombing in 1941; the Palace is one of the centres of political life in the United Kingdom. The Elizabeth Tower, in particular referred to by the name of its main bell, Big Ben, has become an iconic landmark of London and of the United Kingdom in general, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, an emblem of parliamentary democracy. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia called the new palace "a dream in stone"; the Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.
The Palace of Westminster site was strategically important during the Middle Ages, as it was located on the banks of the River Thames. Known in medieval times as Thorney Island, the site may have been first-used for a royal residence by Canute the Great during his reign from 1016 to 1035. St Edward the Confessor, the penultimate Anglo-Saxon monarch of England, built a royal palace on Thorney Island just west of the City of London at about the same time as he built Westminster Abbey. Thorney Island and the surrounding area soon became known as Westminster. Neither the buildings used by the Anglo-Saxons nor those used by William I survive; the oldest existing part of the Palace dates from the reign of William I's successor, King William II. The Palace of Westminster was the monarch's principal residence in the late Medieval period; the predecessor of Parliament, the Curia Regis, met in Westminster Hall. Simon de Montfort's parliament, the first to include representatives of the major towns, met at the Palace in 1265.
The "Model Parliament", the first official Parliament of England, met there in 1295, all subsequent English Parliaments and after 1707, all British Parliaments have met at the Palace. In 1512, during the early years of the reign of King Henry VIII, fire destroyed the royal residential area of the palace. In 1534, Henry VIII acquired York Place from Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a powerful minister who had lost the King's favour. Renaming it the Palace of Whitehall, Henry used it as his principal residence. Although Westminster remained a royal palace, it was used by the two Houses of Parliament and by the various royal law courts; because it was a royal residence, the Palace included no purpose-built chambers for the two Houses. Important state ceremonies were held in the Painted Chamber, built in the 13th century as the main bedchamber for King Henry III; the House of Lords met in the Queen's Chamber, a modest Medieval hall towards the southern end of the complex, with the adjoining Prince's Chamber used as the robing room for peers and for the monarch during state openings.
In 1801 the Upper House moved into the larger White Chamber.
Parliamentary Committees of the United Kingdom
The Parliamentary Committees of the United Kingdom are sub-legislative organizations each consisting of small number of Members of Parliament from the House of Commons, or peers from the House of Lords, or a mix of both appointed to deal with particular areas or issues. The majority of parliamentary committees are Select Committees; the remit of these committees vary depending on whether they are committees of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. Select committees in the Commons are designed to oversee the work of departments and agencies, examine topical issues affecting the country or individual regions, review and advise on the procedures and rules of the House. Departmental select committees are designed to oversee and examine the work of individual government departments and any related departmental bodies and agencies. Topical select committees examine topical issues of importance. Internal select committees have responsibility with respect to the day-to-day running of Parliament.
Public bill committees Delegated Legislation Committees European Committees Northern Ireland Grand Committee Regional Affairs Committee Scottish Grand Committee Welsh Grand Committee Legislative Grand Committee Advisory Committee on Works of Art House of Commons Commission Administration Estimate Audit Committee Members Estimate Committee Members Estimate Audit Committee Public Accounts Commission Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority The House of Lords appoint select committees to examine and explore general issues such as the Constitution or the economy. Communications Select Committee Constitution Committee Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Select Committee Economic Affairs Committee Economic Affairs Finance Bill Sub-Committee European Union Committee Hybrid Instruments Committee International Relations Committee Merits of Statutory Instruments Select Committee Science and Technology Committee Administration and Works Select Committee House Committee Liaison Committee Committee for Privileges Procedure Committee Refreshment Select Committee Committee of Selection Joint Committees of the Parliament of the United Kingdom are committees formed to examine a particular issue, whose membership is from both the Commons and the Lords.
Joint Committee on Consolidation, &c. Bills Ecclesiastical Committee Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy Joint Committee on Human Rights Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Joint Committee on Tax Law Rewrite Bills Joint Committee on the Palace of Westminster Occasionally, committees will be discharged by one of the Houses of Parliament, namely the Commons or the Lords; this occurs when existing committees are no longer required or have their responsibilities transferred to a different committee rendering the original committee void. It is more common, for committees to be discharged as a result of the abolition of government departments, for example the abolition of the Department of Education and Skills in June 2007 resulted in the abolition of the Education and Skills Select Committee shortly afterwards. Agriculture Select Committee - dissolved in 2001, replaced by the Environment and Rural Affairs Select Committee following the replacement of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries with the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs Business and Enterprise Select Committee - dissolved 30 September 2009, replaced by the Business and Skills Select Committee following the replacement of the Department for Business and Regulatory Reform with the Department for Business and Skills Constitutional Affairs Select Committee - dissolved 25 July 2007, replaced by the Justice Select Committee following the replacement of the Department for Constitutional Affairs with the Ministry of Justice.
Education and Employment Select Committee - split in 2001 into the Education and Skills Select Committee and the Work and Pensions Select Committee following the splitting of the Department for Education and Employment into two distinct departments. Education and Skills Select Committee - dissolved 25 July 2007, replaced with the Children and Families Select Committee and the Innovation, Universities and Skills Select Committee following the replacement of the Department of Education and Skills with the Department for Children and Families and the Department for Innovation and Skills. Energy and Climate Change Select Committee - abolished after the Department for Energy and Climate Change was merged into the new Department for Business and Industrial Strategy in July 2016. Environment and Regional Affairs Select Committee - abolished in 2001, with the environment portion of the committee's remit being transferred to the Environment and Rural Affairs Select Committee and the remainder being transferred to the new Transport, Local Government and the Regions Select Committee following changes to several government departments following the 2001 general election.
Innovation, Universities and Skills Select Committee - dissolved 30 September 2009 following the abolition of the Department for Innovation and Skills. Technically replaced by the Science and Technology Select Committee. Lord Chancellor's Department Committee - abolished in 2003 following the merging of the Lord Chancellor's Department into the Department for Constitutional Affairs Committee on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister - abolished in 2006 and replaced with the Communities and Local Government Select Committee following the abolition of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t