Elizabeth and Parliament
* Parliament under Elizabeth was not as powerful as it would later become. * Parliament didn’t meet as regularly as it had under Henry, when it was much more important. * When they did assemble, the MPs were more worried about when they could go home than what was actually going on. Attendance deteriorated quickly in the latter parliamentary sessions. * Only 10% of MPs spoke in debates and only 47% voted
* Elizabeth didn’t particularly like the MP’s, and didn’t try too hard to hide it. Christopher Haigh said she had a tone of ‘condescending superiority’ towards them and she thought ‘parliamentarians were little boys – sometimes unruly, usually a nuisance and always a waste of an intelligent woman’s time’. * Elizabeth aimed for short sessions which granted money quickly. * During Elizabeth’s 45 year reign, Parliament was only summoned 13 times. * Elizabeth had a tendency of ‘reminding MPS and peers that they were her subjects and she was their Queen’ (C. Haigh, 1988) * Parliament was occasionally important for legislation and revenue purposes, but it was mainly secondary in Elizabethan politics. * It was managed mainly by members of the Privy Council. * It was believes by some that the Crown spent a lot of time making sure that Parliament was filled with its supporters. * Elizabeth’s reign saw the creation of 62 new borough seats (something like local MP’s): the assumption being that they were made so that the Crowns supporters could be in Parliament * Before he was raised to peerage, William Cecil had quite a lot of control over the House of Commons. * Wallace MacCaffrey called him ‘Crown’s manager of all parliamentary business’. * He ‘framed and often shaped’ bills
* He was often assisted by the Council’s ‘floor managers’ like Francis Knollys and Christopher Hatton * He also used his own business men to help manage the Commons * Privy...
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