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New Parliament At Westminster Opens To-morrow

THE new Parliament to be opened in State at Westminster to-morrow —the thirty-eighth Parliament of the. United Kingdom—follows a Parliament which sat in the reign of three Kings. It was elected on November 14, 1935, and first met on November 26 of that year. , nn . Nine years six months and 20 days was the length of the Parliament dissolved last month, exceeding m length by nearly two years the Parliament which saw Britain through the previous war. .. The actual length of the 1935-45 Parliament's existence has not, in fact, been exceeded for nearly 300 vears. The famous "Long Parliament" of the Civil War, which saw the execution of Charles I. and the Restoration, lasted from 1640 to 1660, but had long interruptions. Famous "Long Parliaments" Other famous "Long Parliaments" were the Elizabethan Parliament (1572-1583) and the Long Parliament of the Restoration (1661-1679). In the number of its actual sitting days, the Parliament recently ended can probably claim the record for length of effective service. The Quinquennial Act constitutionally limits the life of any modern Parliament to five years; but Parliament itself is supreme, and so in this war, as in the last, it had, year by year as necessary, passed special Acts to prolong its own existence. It was elected under conditions which now seem remote. Europe then was facing a dangerous foreign situation produced by the Abyssinian War, and the recent decision of the League of Nations, supported by the British Government, to apply "sanctions to Italy. At Home a coal strike was threatened. The highlights of the thirty-seventh Parliament were the Hoare-Laval Pact when it was only a month old; the abdication of King Edward VIII.; Mr. Chamberlain taking over the Premiership from Mr. Baldwin; the Munich crisis of 1938; the outbreak of war; the replacement by Mr. Churchill of Mr. Chamberlain; the successive crises of the war; the bombing of the House that forced it to sit for a time in the Central Hall, Westminster; the Beveridge Report in 1942, and, of course, VE Day. Changes on Government Benchcs Then came the first general election in nearly 10 years and on July 26 the people of Britain learned that they had registered one of the biggest political landslides in the history of their Parliament. The Conservatives, who at the general elections ten years earlier, had continued in office with a substantially increased majority, found themselves defeated by Labour. In the new House 390 Labour members will fill the Government benches in place of the 361 Conservatives of the old House. The Conservatives now muster 195, which is only 30 more than the number of , Labour members in the last House. | The present representation of parties i is as follows, the figures for the pre- . vious House being shown in paren- 1 theses:—Liberal-National 14 (28), Lib- J eral 11 (21), Independent 10 (19), ; Common Wealth 1 (4), Communist 2 (1), other parties 3 (9). Record Number of Women Such are the changes in the pres- r ent House that it is said that one 1 would have to go back to the days of Simon de Mcintfort (1265) to find a a parallel. • The main Labour person- t alities will be familiar to the.House, t but there will be £ The highest number of women in the { history of Parliament is also expected ,to be in. attendance. .

The new Parliament will be faced with serious transitional difficulties following on the termination of hostilities with Japan. It will most especially have a major task in dealing with labour shortages in connection with industrial gonversion and the production of goods for home consumption and export. As an indication of major proposals embodied in the policy of the new Government, the King's Speech at the ceremonial opening of Parliament to-morrow is eagerly awaited in Britain and throughout the Empire.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450815.2.33

Bibliographic details

New Parliament At Westminster Opens To-morrow, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 192, 15 August 1945

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643

New Parliament At Westminster Opens To-morrow Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 192, 15 August 1945

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