The mother of parliaments

"The mother of parliaments" is a phrase coined by the British politician and reformer John Bright in a speech at Birmingham on 18 January 1865.

It was a reference to England. His actual words were: "England is the mother of parliaments". This was reported in The Times on the following day.[1]

The expression therefore is often wrongly applied to the Parliament of the United Kingdom because of the adoption of the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy by many countries of the former British Empire.[2][3][4]

See also


  1. Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, revised 4th ed, 1996, p. 141
  2. Parliament. CUP Archive. 1957. p. 517; "UK Politics: Talking Politics The 'Mother of Parliaments'". BBC Talking Politics. 3 June 1998. Retrieved 23 April 2016; "Full text of Obama's speech to UK parliament". CNN. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2016; "Britain and France Get Poor Marks in Democracy Ranking". Spiegel Online. 2 January 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2016; "A Makeover for the Mother of Parliaments". The New York Times. 11 July 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  3. Seidle, F. Leslie; Docherty, David C. (2003). Reforming parliamentary democracy. McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9780773525085.
  4. Julian Go (2007). "A Globalizing Constitutionalism?, Views from the Postcolony, 1945-2000". In Arjomand, Saïd Amir (ed.). Constitutionalism and political reconstruction. Brill. pp. 92–94. ISBN 978-9004151741; "How the Westminster Parliamentary System was exported around the World". University of Cambridge. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.

Further reading