Impeachment is a trial held before Parliament
of someone who is charged with a crime against
the State. It is usually a charge against a public
In the past English custom was for the impeachment
to be made in the House of Commons and for the
trial to be held in the House of Lords. The first
impeachment in this country was of Lord Latimer
in 1376, and the last Lord Melville in 1806.
However since 1805 parliamentary procedure has
changed. The Cabinet is responsible for the actions
of Ministers and Ministers are accountable to
Parliament. Their work is scrutinised and they
are questioned regularly by Parliament. There
is therefore no need for impeachment.
In America public officials may still be impeached.
This includes the President. President Clinton
was impeached and acquitted in 1999.
Imperial State Crown
The British Sovereign uses two crowns. The Imperial
State Crown is worn on all state occasions except
for the Coronation when the St. Edward's Crown
The Imperial State Crown is a magnificently jewelled
Crown and was made in 1838 for Queen Victoria.
Independent MPs are those elected to represent
a constituency without the backing of a political
party. There was one Independent MP returned in
the 2001 General Election - Dr. Richard Taylor,
MP for Wyre Forest.
The Information Committee is one of the Domestic
Committees of the House of Commons. This committee
is concerned with the Library, Hansard and for
information technology services.
The equivalent committee in the House of Lords
is the Library and Computers Sub-Committee.
An intervention is when the MP making a speech
is interrupted by another MP and asked to 'give
way' to allow the other MP to intervene on the
speech to ask a question or comment on what has
just been said.
When new Life Peers first take their place in
the House of Lords they take part in an introduction
ceremony. New Peers are supported by two Members
of the House of Lords. New Bishops have their
own version of the following ceremony.
The Lord Chancellor sits on the Woolsack, wearing
court dress, black gown and full-bottomed wig.
The newly created Peer and his or her Supporters,
all in their Parliamentary robes, the Knights
of Orders wearing their Collars, with Garter King
of Arms and Black Rod, assemble in the Peers'
Lobby. A procession is formed, which enters the
At the Bar of the House, each member of the procession
bows in turn to the Cloth of Estate. Then they
enter the House, and proceed towards the Table.
Black Rod passes in front of the cross benches
and places himself behind the Clerks' seats. Garter
hands the new Peer's Letters Patent to the Reading
Clerk. The Junior Supporter moves to the second
gangway. The Reading Clerk, the new Peer and the
Senior Supporter follow the Junior Supporter.
On arrival at the Table, when the Reading Clerk
has reached the Despatch Box, the procession of
four halts and turns inwards. The new Peer hands
the Writ of Summons to the Reading Clerk.
The Reading Clerk reads the Letters Patent and
administers the Oath of Allegiance to the new
Peer, who then signs the Test Roll upon the Table.
The new Peer and the Supporters then process in
front of the cross benches and turn to face the
Woolsack and bow to the Cloth of Estate.
On reaching the Woolsack, the new Peer shakes
hands with the Lord Chancellor. The procession
passes into the Prince's Chamber through the door.
The new Peer and the two Supporters, without robes,
then normally return to the Chamber, and the new
Peer sits for the first time in that part of the
House where he or she intends to sit in the future.