The Reporting of Parliamentary Debates: The Wilkes Coup of 1771
This chapter discusses the reporting of Parliamentary debates. These have been repeatedly and successfully suppressed by direct action of both Houses of Parliament. This censorship was due mostly to Wilkes, who masterminded the tactical coup in the 1760s. However, the metropolitan press expanded significantly from 1768, until there were no less than five daily papers being published in London. The chapter looks at the different publications that attempted to report these debates and the events that took place. It also notes Wilkes' most significant gain for ‘liberty’, the ‘Printer Case’. This was his victory over the authority of the House of Commons and the House of Lords after the latter attempted to arrest the printer of the Public Ledger.
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