Convention Parliaments

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The constitutional crisis of the 17th cent. produced two occasions when there were impediments to the summoning of a lawful parliament. The first was at the Restoration. On 25 April 1660, a month after the Long Parliament had dissolved itself, a convention assembled and declared that the government should be in king, lords, and commons. Its first act was to declare itself a genuine parliament, ‘notwithstanding any defect or default whatsoever’. A similar procedure was adopted in 1689 after James II's flight meant that the calling of a lawful parliament was impossible. The Assembly which gathered at Westminster on 22 January was a parliament in all but name, and its first act, using the exact words of the 1660 measure, was to declare itself a parliament.

Subjects: British History.

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