New Year Quiz

Lord Norton

As we begin a new year, I thought I would pose a few historical questions for this week’s quiz.   I know some readers don’t attempt the quiz, but do find it interesting and, indeed, educative.  I try to select questions that reflect the history as well as the nature of the membership of the House.  As usual, the first two readers to supply the correct answers will be the winners.

1. In what year did the House of Commons, purged of many of its members, pass the resolution that ‘the House of Peers in parliament is useless and dangerous and ought to be abolished’?

2. The chambers in the New Palace of Westminster, built following the great fire of 1834, were occupied in different years, the Commons later than than the Lords.  In what year was the House of Lords completed and occupied?    (I’ll accept an answer within two years either side.)

3. In the first Labour Government in 1924, four peers were appointed to serve in the Cabinet but only two of them were actually members of the Labour party.  (One or them was later killed in the R101 airship crash in 1930.)  Name either of them.

4. Who was the last hereditary peer to serve as a Cabinet minister?

Even if you don’t know the answers to all the questions, feel free to answer those where you think you do know the answer.

Next week’s quiz will be about Labour peers.

11 comments for “New Year Quiz

  1. Oliver
    02/01/2010 at 2:28 pm

    3. Viscount Chelmsford, Baron Thomson. The latter was killed in the airship disaster.

    4. The Marquess of Salisbury, formerly Viscount Cranbourne?

  2. Oliver
    02/01/2010 at 2:39 pm

    1. 1649.

    2. 1847.

  3. Robert Doyle
    02/01/2010 at 3:50 pm

    1. 1649 On February 6th, a week after the execution of Charles I, the resolution was passed by the Rump Parliament. The Act to abolish the Lords was passed a month later.

    2. 1847 The Commons was not completed until 1852 which was also the first state opening of Parliament by Queen Victoria in the new Palace.

    3. I’m assuming that you are thinking of Christopher Thomson, 1st Baron Thomson and
    Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane

    However, although Charles Cripps, 1st Baron Parmoor (who I only knew before today as Stafford Cripps’ father) had been elevated to the peerage by a Liberal Government in 1914, he was variously described as joint leader of the House of Lords with Haldane and as “joint leader of the labour peers” which makes me wonder if had joined the Labour Party at that point.

    4. Tricky – If you take a view that the Leader of the Lords is a member of the Cabinet but not a Cabinet “Minister”, then you possibly have to go back to Lord Carrington.

    However, I’m inclined to be more liberal. If you take the view that writs of acceleration ought to count as hereditary peerages rather than life peerages of a a special kind, Viscount Cranborne can claim this as late as 1997.

    However, on the basis that the Cecils have had things their own way for far too long, I will continue to maintain that the last hereditary peer sitting in the cabinet without use of a legal fiction must have been Lord Belstead in 1990.

    • Gar Hywel
      03/01/2010 at 5:31 pm

      Was it called the Rump parliament and was C 1
      executed in 1649. I have been thinking 1644?
      Which was the year date of outbreak of Civil war?

  4. Len
    02/01/2010 at 4:54 pm

    1) 1649

    2) The Lords’ Chamber was complete and occupied in 1847

    3) The Lord Thomson and the Viscount Haldane

    4) I’m going to say the Viscount Cranborne, thanks to a writ of acceleration, though I’m not sure if that affects the answer in any way.

  5. Chris K
    02/01/2010 at 4:54 pm

    1) 1649 – just after Charles I’s execution?
    2) 1848
    4) Lord Car(r)ington

  6. 02/01/2010 at 11:17 pm

    1. 1649.
    2. 1847.
    3. Lord Thomson, of Cardington in the County of Bedford.
    4. Viscount Cranborne.

    Happy New Year 🙂

  7. Jana
    03/01/2010 at 3:13 am

    1. 1649

    2. 1847

    3. 1st Baron Thomson

    4. Viscount Hailsham (Douglas Hogg)

  8. Croft
    03/01/2010 at 1:18 pm

    1) 1649

    2) 1847

    3) Viscount Chelmsford if you mean non labour peers and Lord Thomson if you mean labour.

    4) Earl of Gowrie

  9. lordnorton
    03/01/2010 at 2:39 pm

    Congratulations on some quick and accurate responses. The answers are:

    1. The motion was indeed passed by the Rump Parliament in 1649.

    2. The chamber of the Lords was completed and occupied in 1847.

    3. The two Labour peers were Lord Thomson of Cardington and Lord Parmoor. Parmoor (Charles Cripps) joined the Labour Party in 1921. Viscount Haldane by 1924 was supporting Labour but not, as far as I am aware, a party member. Answering either Thomson or Parmoor is thus correct.

    4. I am taking Lord Cranborne (now the Marquess of Sailsbury) as the last hereditary peer to serve in the Cabinet. He was indeed sitting in the Lords by a writ of acceleration, but as such was sitting under one of his father’s junior titles and thus a peer. Jana makes the interesting point that Douglas Hogg, now Viscount Hailsham, sat in the Cabinet. Both Cranborne and Hogg were in the Cabinet at the same time and ceased to be members in 1997, but Hogg – though heir to a hereditary peerage – was not the holder of a title at the time. Having said that, I probably wouldn’t disallow it as an answer; similarly I could be persuaded by Robert Doyle’s nomination of Lord Belstead.

    Most of you got the correct answers or three out of the four. The first two with correct answers were Oliver and, with a very full response, Robert Doyle. They are this week’s prize-winners. Congratulations to both.

  10. Gar Hywel
    07/01/2010 at 8:17 pm

    I won’t bribe anybody for their coffee and biscuit (not biscuitS mind; you don’t get something for nothing!) since the weather may effect my attendance below bar next week.

    There are one or two good meetings to choose from, in this term of the year, when most good work is done!

    The London season is beginning, but not for coffee and biscuits. I may catch up on the true facts of the Afgh conflict instead, which is mainly post soviet oil politics.

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