Creation of Parliament

Creation of Parliament

The Creation and Evolution of the British Parliament


  • Parliament emerged from the Curia Regis, the king’s council of advisors and noblemen.
  • The term “parliament” originated in the 13th century, under the rule of King John and Henry III.

Two Chamber System

  • By the 14th century, parliament split into the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
  • This split was initially driven by disputes over taxation: the Commons insisted on consent to new taxes.

Powers and Responsibilities

  • Parliament’s powers were enhanced by “The Petition of Right” (1628) and “The Habeas Corpus Act” (1679). These affirmed citizens’ legal rights and gave Parliament more oversight.
  • The “Bill of Rights” (1689) solidified parliament’s supremacy over the monarchy, marking the emergence of constitutional monarchy in the UK.

Reforms and Representation

  • The Acts of Union (1707 and 1800) brought Scotland and Ireland into a united Great Britain, prompting representation debates.
  • The Representation of the People Acts gradually expanded the electorate, beginning from, but not exclusive to the First Reform Act in 1832.

Modern Developments

  • The House of Lords Act (1999) removed the majority of hereditary peers, marking a significant modern reform.
  • The Fixed Term Parliaments Act (2011) defined the length of parliamentary term to be five years, unless otherwise determined by a vote of no confidence or early general election.

Understanding the evolution and development of the British Parliament is fundamental to comprehending the structure and function of modern British politics. Its history reveals the rise of democracy and how historical events have shaped the political landscape of today.