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The Will of the People? The History of Petitioning in Britain and Its Implications for Today

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Duration: 0:39:22 | Added: 15 May 2017
Mark Knights, Professor of History, University of Warwick, gives a talk for the FLJS Seminar Series on 2nd May 2017.

Is there, as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Liz Truss has suggested, a 'settled will of the people'? If so, how is this best expressed: through a referendum, through Parliament, or through petitions?

We have recently seen enormous e-petitions about Brexit and Donald Trump's visit to the UK; but what is the history of petitioning in British political culture and how does the voice of the petitioner square with other forms of representation? What indeed, was the legal status of a petition, and how was this disputed?

In this lecture, Professor Mark Knights of the University of Warwick will assess how the will of the British people has been expressed through the device of petitioning throughout the ages, and draw lessons for the Britain of today.

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