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Speakers and the Speakership. Presiding Officers and the Management of Business from the Middle Ages to the Twenty–first Century. Parliamentary History Book Series

  • ID: 3797272
  • Book
  • February 2010
  • 160 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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In the modern period, Speakers and other presiding officers are expected to remain impartial and above party politics; however, this was not always so, and in previous times they acted as key, though sometimes equivocal, government allies in the political management of Parliament.

This volume is the first dedicated to the subject of Speakership since the mid–1960s, and offers an absorbing analysis of how Speakers and the Speakership have operated in Parliament in Britain. Composed of papers from a conference held at the House of Commons in April 2008, it explores the role of the Speaker and the Lord Chancellor in the Westminster Parliament before the advent of democracy, and sets it beside the practice in Dublin and Edinburgh over the same period, and the more recent history of the role both at London and at Washington. It concludes with a fascinating description by the former Speaker of the House of Commons, Baroness Boothroyd, of her own tenure of the chair.

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List of Contributors.

Introduction (Paul Seaward, History of Parliament).

1. Speakers at War in the Late 14th and 15th Centuries (Anne Curry, University of Southampton).

2. The Tudor Speakers 1485 1601: Choosing, Status, Work (Alasdair Hawkyard, Royal Historical Society).

3. Chancellors, Presidents and Speakers: Presiding Officers in the Scottish Parliament before the Restoration (Alan R. MacDonald,University of Dundee).

4. Speakers in the 17th–Century Irish Parliament (Coleman A. Dennehy, St Patrick s College, Maynooth).

5. The Reputation and Authority of the Speaker and the Speakership of the House of Commons, 1640 60 (Stephen K. Roberts,History of Parliament).

6. The Speaker in the Age of Party, 1672 1715 (Paul Seaward,History of Parliament).

7. The Speakership of the House of Lords, 1660 1832 (Ruth Paley, History of Parliament).

8. Thurlow, Eldon and Lyndhurst and the Management of the House of Lords (Richard W. Davis, Washington University).

9.  Nothing Could Exceed the Badness of His Character Even in This Bad Age (Sir William McKay,Council of the Law Society of Scotland).

10. The Role of the Speaker in the 20th Century (The Rt Hon. Baroness Boothroyd, MP).


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Paul Seaward
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