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The Role of the Member of Parliament Since
1868From Gentlemen to Players$
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Michael Rush

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198275770

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198275770.001.0001

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The Adaptation of Parliament

The Adaptation of Parliament

(p.52) 3 The Adaptation of Parliament
The Role of the Member of Parliament Since 1868

Michael Rush

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses changes in the procedures and practices of Parliament. With the development and regular use of standing committees, the four major developments in parliamentary procedure needed to enable the House of Commons to cope with the growth of government were all in place — an increase in parliamentary time, precedence given to government business, the extension of government control over its own time and over the parliamentary agenda generally, and the use of committees to spread the legislative burden. In addition, from 1906 Parliament adopted the practice of spreading sittings throughout the year, rather than concentrating them between January/February and July/August. There was one other change that facilitated the acceptance of these changes and that concerned the role of the Speaker. Arthur Onslow, Speaker from 1728 to 1761, is regarded as the prototype of the modem Speaker — politically-neutral, the defender of minorities, and the arbiter in all matters procedural.

Keywords:   parliamentary government, House of Commons, Parliament, parliamentary procedure, Arthur Onslow, Speaker

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