History of Parliament annual lecture

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.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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11 Responses to History of Parliament annual lecture

  1. Dave H says:

    It was changed in 1949 and 1968 according to legislation.gov.uk and they claim there are no more changes (perhaps they need a tip-off?)

    I assume it’s the Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 that changes the 5-year maximum term provision in the 1911 act?

    • Lord Norton says:

      Dave H: Congratulations. You are indeed correct. As Princeps Senatus points out below, section 7 of the Act is omitted by section 4, schedule 6 of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, which received royal assent on 15 September.

  2. Frank W. Summers III says:

    Lord Norton,
    I hope you will be as willing to engage in overkill as last time so that I can in the end get a good serviceable link to your lecture. If you are, I will look forward to hearing it…

    • Frank W. Summers III says:

      Lord Norton,
      My interest in food causes me to wonder if refreshments are served on Wedgewood porcelain at this affair…

      • Lord Norton says:

        Frank W. Summers III: Refreshments are served, but it is more crisps and nibbles served on plates that I think it fair to say are not products of the Wedgwood factory. After the lecture and the reception, though, the Trustees of the History of Parliament invite the speaker to dinner. As I am a Trustee, this means that this year we cut down on the costs!

    • Lord Norton says:

      Frank W. Summers III: It may well be that the lecture is covered by the BBC Parliament channel. I will keep you informed.

      • Frank W. Summers III says:

        Lord Norton,

        So I look forward to all of this but while the Porcelain is not Wedgewood the institution hosting your lecture is sort of derived from the same Wedgewood family I believe. Josiah Wedewood fils as it were…

      • Lord Norton says:

        Frank W. Summers III: Certainly is. Wedgwood’s survey of MPs was the genesis of the History of Parliament. There will shortly be a publication on this very subject.

  3. Princeps Senatus says:

    Section 7 of the Parliament Act 1911 is repealed by Section 4, Schedule 6 of the the Fixed Term Parliaments Act 2011.

  4. ladytizzy says:

    Looking back at the manifestos of the time, the word manifesto does not appear. In 1950 Labour and the Conservative apparently each use the term for the first time. Firstly, is this a correct summary and was it a coincidence? Secondly, is a pledge in a manifesto less or more meaningful than a simple promise?

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