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5th Parliament of Great Britain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

5th Parliament of Great Britain
4th 6th
Spencer Compton 1st Earl of Wilmington.jpg
Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington, Speaker of the House of Commons
Term17 March 1715 (1715-03-17) – 10 March 1722 (1722-03-10)
  • Whig dominated
House of Commons
Members558 MPs
Speaker of the House of CommonsSpencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington
House of Lords
Leader of the House of Lords
1st17 March 1715 (1715-03-17) – 26 June 1716 (1716-06-26)
2nd20 February 1717 (1717-02-20) – 15 July 1717 (1717-07-15)
3rd21 November 1717 (1717-11-21) – 21 March 1718 (1718-03-21)
4th11 November 1718 (1718-11-11) – 18 April 1719 (1719-04-18)
5th23 November 1719 (1719-11-23) – 11 June 1720 (1720-06-11)
6th8 December 1720 (1720-12-08) – 29 July 1721 (1721-07-29)
7th31 July 1721 (1721-07-31) – 10 August 1721 (1721-08-10)
8th19 October 1721 (1721-10-19) – 7 March 1722 (1722-03-07)

The 5th Parliament of Great Britain was summoned by George I of Great Britain on 17 January 1715 and assembled on the 17 March 1715. When it was dissolved on 10 March 1722 it had been the first Parliament to be held under the Septennial Act of 1716.[1]

The composition of the new House of Commons represented a massive Whig landslide victory at the election, reversing the pro-Tory landslide of the previous election, with 341 Whigs and 217 Tories. Spencer Compton, 1st Earl of Wilmington, the Whig member for Sussex, was installed as Speaker of the House of Commons.

George I's administration was largely composed of Whigs, being the party which had wholeheartedly supported his accession, and which now enjoyed the full support of the Commons. Viscount Townshend, Secretary of State for the Northern Department and chief ministerial spokesman in the Lords, emerged as the King’s chief minister. The leader of the Whig ministry in the House of Commons was James Stanhope, Secretary of State for the Southern Department. However, during the first session Stanhope was eclipsed by Robert Walpole, the Paymaster-general and brother-in-law of Viscount Townshend. In October 1715 Walpole was promoted to the post of First Lord of the Treasury.

The dominance of Townsend and Walpole caused discontent within the party and by early 1717 both had been forced out of their positions. Townsend was replaced by Lord Sunderland, who was also Lord President of the Council and who in March 1718 became First Lord of the Treasury, effectively consolidating his position to that of a Prime Minister. For the next three years George I's ministry would be led jointly by Lord Sunderland and James Stanhope, with Townshend and Walpole in opposition.

However by 1721, with Sunderland now in the House of Lords, Stanhope dead and the crisis caused by the South Sea Bubble, both Townshend and Walpole had been able to get back into power, Townshend as Secretary of State and Walpole as First Lord of the Treasury in place of Sunderland.

Much of the first session of the Parliament was concerned with debating the activities of some of Queen Anne's senior ministers who had allegedly been negotiating in secret with the Jacobite court in exile. The landing in Scotland of the Old Pretender in June 1715 added urgency to the proceedings. The rebel ministers were impeached and tried and emergency actions taken such as the suspension of Habeas Corpus.

Before the first session closed, the Septennial Act was passed, lengthening the life of Parliaments to seven years. An attempt to restrict the royal prerogative to create peers was defeated in 1719.

Notable Acts of the Parliament

See also


  1. ^ "The 5th Parliament of Great Britain". History of Parliament. Retrieved 12 November 2017.

External links

Preceded by
4th Parliament of Great Britain
5th Parliament of Great Britain
Succeeded by
6th Parliament of Great Britain
This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 14:04
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