On Thursday, UK Parliament hosted a special event in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the parliament called by Simon De Montfort, which met from January to mid-March 1265.
Forty Members from both Houses of Parliament, representing the whole of the UK, as well as their respective representatives from the UK Youth Parliament were present. Eilidh Collins, from Letham, and Emma Farquhar, from Carnoustie, members of the Scottish Youth Parliament, were present.
The Montfort parliament was the first time that representatives of both towns and shires were summoned simultaneously to discuss matters of national concern, something which ultimately paved the way for the emergence of the House of Commons. The towns and counties were once again summoned to Westminster Abbey Chapter House, where they met together for the first time for the Montfort parliament on 20 January 1265.
The Speaker, Rt Hon John Bercow MP, said: “Over the past eight centuries the public and their Parliament have shaped society and changed the way we live our lives. The Montfort and Magna Carta anniversaries which we will commemorate in 2015, provide the perfect opportunity to remember the beginning of the UK’s journey to the rights and representation we enjoy today. This ‘re-summoning’ reminds us how far we have come, and that we need to continue to work together to shape our society for future generations.”
The Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza, said: “This symbolic ‘re-summoning’ of the shires and towns brings the story of Simon de Montfort and his 1265 Parliament to life, recognising the emergence of Parliament and local representation.
“Like the House of Commons, the Lords has Members from every part of the UK. We also have Members with experience and expertise in virtually every area of public policy. I hope celebrating anniversaries like this and highlighting the role Parliament has played and continues to play in the history of our nation will encourage people to find out more, and get involved in the important work that goes on in both Houses throughout the year.”