I have just received my invitation to the eighth History of Parliament annual lecture, which is being given on 1 November. It is probably superfluous for me to reply as I am the one giving the lecture. The topic is ‘Resisting the inevitable? The Parliament Act 1911’.
I have already spent some time working on the lecture. I am looking at the Act in terms of its origins, its passage, and its consequences. Though those with an interest in Parliament, in particular the relationship between the two Houses, tend to be aware of the Act – it is a major piece of constitutional legislation – the events surrounding it are complex.
The choice of topic for this year’s lecture was a fairly obvious one. Various events have already been held to mark the centenary of the passage of the Act. These include, of course, the 1911 Centenary Lectures organised by the Speaker of the House of Commons. I am treating this lecture as being on a par with the one I delivered in that series on Enoch Powell.
Here’s a quick quiz question for keen readers. The 1911 Act was amended by the Parliament Act 1949 but that is not the most recent amendment. What is the most recent change made to the Act? A clue: it is very recent.