Development of Parliamentary Privilege

Jul 2019
555
New Jersey
#1
"At the commencement of every Parliament it has been the custom for the Speaker, in the name, and on behalf of, the Commons, to lay claim by humble petition to their ancient and undoubted rights and privileges; particularly to freedom of speech in debate, freedom from arrest, freedom of access to Her Majesty whenever occasion shall require; and that the most favourable construction should be placed upon all their proceedings. The Speaker's pronouncement is of symbolic importance rather than of practical effect. " (Erskine May, Paragraph 12.3)

Does anybody know when this practice began of the Speaker of the House of Commons requesting that the Crown respect Parliament's rights? I know that More requested freedom of speech in 1523 and that in 1559 the Speaker of the HoC requested favorable construction, but when did it become established to request these privileges at the outset of each Parliament?
 
Last edited:
Likes: Futurist
Mar 2019
1,623
Kansas
#2
Does anybody know when this practice began of the Speaker of the House of Commons requesting that the Crown respect Parliament's rights? I know that More requested freedom of speech in 1523 and that in 1559 the Speaker of the HoC requested favorable construction, but when did it become established to request these privileges at the outset of each Parliament?
The English civil war was basically fought over this issue.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,292
Dispargum
#4
"That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king ... That election of members of Parliament ought to be free;
That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;" - English Bill of Rights, 1689

I can't find any reference to Parliamentary access to the monarch, just the above right of subjects in general. Unless by right of access they mean that Parliament shall be convened regularly. That's also in the 1689 Bill of Rights.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2019
1,623
Kansas
#6
"That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king ... That election of members of Parliament ought to be free;
That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;" - English Bill of Rights, 1689

I can't find any reference to Parliamentary access to the monarch, just the above right of subjects in general. Unless by right of access they mean that Parliament shall be convened regularly. That's also in the 1689 Bill of Rights.
I don't think he asking when they got the right, but when Parliamentary procedure included the opening speech from the Speaker.
 
Likes: Abraham95
Jul 2019
555
New Jersey
#7
"That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king ... That election of members of Parliament ought to be free;
That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;" - English Bill of Rights, 1689

I can't find any reference to Parliamentary access to the monarch, just the above right of subjects in general. Unless by right of access they mean that Parliament shall be convened regularly. That's also in the 1689 Bill of Rights.
MG1962a is correct. I'm asking when this request became part of parliamentary procedure (I believe it was sometime in the 16th or 17th century, but I don't know for sure). The right to access is one of the oldest rights of Parliament, and is basically just a right of corporate parliament rather than individual MPs. In other words, a Parliamentary delegation or the Speaker of the HoC bearing a message from the Parliament have the right of access, but not any individual MP.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,305
Netherlands
#8
I think it is much earlier. Iirc Simon de Montfort basically gave a pardon (for lack of a better word) for parliamentarians from their travel to parliament until their return.
Also kings would call their vassals for "discussion", in which the vassals were untouchable until they returned home.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,292
Dispargum
#9
Also kings would call their vassals for "discussion", in which the vassals were untouchable until they returned home.
Was this the king's promise of pardon or the king extending his protection over his vassals? The king could protect his vassals from everyone else, but were the vassals protected from the king? In the Salic Law from the early sixth century, the king extended extra protection to men in the king's service but there's no mention or suggestion that the men were protected from the king. The Salic Law probably assumed that the king was above the law.
 

Willempie

Ad Honorem
Jul 2015
5,305
Netherlands
#10
Was this the king's promise of pardon or the king extending his protection over his vassals? The king could protect his vassals from everyone else, but were the vassals protected from the king? In the Salic Law from the early sixth century, the king extended extra protection to men in the king's service but there's no mention or suggestion that the men were protected from the king. The Salic Law probably assumed that the king was above the law.
More like there was a transgression, for which the vassal needed to answer. On his way to court and back he was protected by the lord