The power of the Long Parliament’s Committees

The History of Parliament

Dr Stephen Roberts, editor of our Commons 1640-1660 section, shares some of the new research they are doing into the Long Parliament’s many committees, and what effect they had on Parliament’s relationship with the King…

The History of Parliament House of Commons 1640-1660 team have been looking at the powerful executive committees of the Long Parliament, which were established as a response to the crisis of 1641-2, and became the main agencies by which Parliament governed the country during and immediately after the civil war. Although the Commons was initially both hesitant and fastidious in claiming new executive powers, such as the authority to impose oaths on people it interrogated, within a short space of time it had moved into spheres of government undreamt of by earlier parliamentarians. The characteristic institution of this assumption of power was the committee, a group of MPs acting on the authority of…

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