How long is a Parliament?

The History of Parliament

In this blog for the ‘Named Parliaments’ series, Dr Paul Hunneyball, Associate Editor of the House of Lords 1604-29 project, explores the length of parliaments, paying particular attention to the Short and Long parliaments of the 1640s and 1650s…

Down the centuries, the length of parliaments has
varied enormously, from a few days to a decade or more. That being the case,
it’s perhaps surprising that the Short and Long parliaments, both of which
opened in 1640, are almost unique in being named according to their respective
durations. (Barebone’s Parliament of
1653 is sometimes referred to as the Little Parliament, but strictly speaking
it was a nominated assembly, and can therefore be set to one side.) In part the
explanation lies in the events of these two parliaments, rather than their simple
longevity – or lack of it – but in order to make sense of all that…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at

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