23 October 1707

Parliament meets for the first time in Great Britain.

Old Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, London: the Parliament House from Old Palace Yard


The first Parliament of the Kingdom of Great Britain was established in the 23rd of October 1707, after the merger of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland. No fresh elections were held in England, and the existing members of the House of Commons of England sat as members of the new House of Commons of Great Britain. In Scotland, prior to the union coming into effect, the Scottish Parliament appointed sixteen peers and 45 Members of Parliaments to join their English counterparts in Westminster.When the new parliamentary session began on 23 October, English parliamentarians warmly welcomed their new Scottish colleagues in the Lords and Commons. Scots MPs had to accustom themselves to a cut-and-thrust style of debate in the Commons which was very different from the slow formality to which they had been accustomed in Edinburgh. The Queen’s speech to parliament on 6 November, made no mention of the Union, until she had given a long account of the state of the war against France. This highlighted the main reason why England had wanted Union.