WORCESTERSHIRE’S LINKS TO MAGNA CARTA AND PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY CELEBRATED BY MP
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WORCESTERSHIRE’S LINKS TO MAGNA CARTA AND PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY CELEBRATED BY MP

In the week when Parliament celebrates its 750th anniversary, a local MP has explained that it was Worcestershire’s links with Magna Carta and Simon de Montfort that led him to a key national role in the commemorations.


Sir Peter Luff is joint chair of the Parliamentary organising committee of the celebrations the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta and the 750th anniversary of the de Montfort parliament.

King John, who agreed to Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215, is buried in Worcester Cathedral, and Simon de Montfort died a grisly death at the Battle of Evesham I August 1265. Major events are planned in both Worcester and Evesham to mark these deaths.

Sir Peter explains that it was the county’s strong links to both men that led him to suggest a programme of events to the Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow two years ago.

Today, Sir Peter was praised by the Speaker, John Bercow, in a special Commons statement, when he said,

“In particular, I am sure that the House would want me to thank the group’s Commons Chairman, the hon. Member for Mid Worcestershire (Sir Peter Luff) for the energy and wisdom that he has brought to the task.”

The Speaker explained,

“In 2015, the Houses of Parliament, along with the people of the UK, commemorate two important anniversaries: 800 years since the sealing of Magna Carta in June 1215 and 750 years since the calling of the Simon de Montfort Parliament in January 1265. These historic events can be seen as marking the start of a journey towards our modern-day rights and representation. So this week, exactly 750 years since Simon de Montfort summoned that Parliament to meet in the chapter house of Westminster Abbey on 20 January 1265, is an important week for the House of Commons in particular.
“It was not the first English Parliament, and the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments have parallel histories, but, because it was the first Parliament in which representatives from towns were summoned, alongside the knights, it is seen as the earliest forerunner of the modern Parliament.

“These will all be commemorated in a programme being organised jointly by both Houses of Parliament out of existing budgets. This programme of celebrations, entitled “Parliament in the Making”, is designed to raise awareness of our democratic heritage. Our programme aims to increase public understanding that Parliament is at the heart of our democracy and that its work matters to everyone. It aims to mark our history in innovative ways that are relevant to contemporary society.”

Replying, Sir Peter thanked the Speaker and said,

“May I invite colleagues across the House to seize the many opportunities provided and so help us to achieve our objectives of inspiring people about the 800-year history of our rights and representation, educating a new generation about that history and encouraging participation in civil society and our democracy?”

ENDS

A full account of the programme, “Parliament in the Making” can be found here:
http://www.parliament.uk/2015

A speech by Sir Peter Luff at the launch press conference, explaining more of the background, can be found here:
http://www.peterluff.org.uk/speech.php?dataID=1720


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