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U.K. Parliamentary Papers

A guide to the interface used for the Parliamentary Papers

About House of Commons Parliamentary Papers

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers are foremost among the richest and most detailed primary sources for the past three centuries, for Britain, its colonies and the wider world. As such, they constitute a major part of the world’s historical record. Parliamentary Papers influenced public opinion and social and political philosophy and provided a forum for the ideas of thinkers of the day.

House of Commons Parliamentary Papers  (HCPP) includes the complete file of House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, also known as Sessional Papers or Blue Books, dating from 1715 through to today.

This includes:

  • Bills – drafts of legislation, to be reviewed through various parliamentary stages.
  • House of Commons Papers – documents resulting from the work of the House of Commons.
  • Command Papers – government papers conveying information or decisions the Government wishes to draw to attention of the House, presented ‘by Command of Her Majesty’.

The latter two categories breakdown further into:

  • Reports of Committees – Select or the Whole House. Appointed to investigate issues of concern.
  • Reports of Commissioners – commissions appointed by the Crown to investigate social problems, to conduct inquiries into events, and as a preparation for legislation.
  • Accounts – statistical information, originating primarily from the Treasury, the Board of Trade and the War Office/Admiralty.
  • Papers – correspondence from ambassadors, governors, army officers abroad; commercial, trade and navigation accounts, statistical abstracts: judicial, taxation, etc; census data; slavery and slave trade documents; treaties.

Plus, the 18th Century Collection includes pre-Hansard debates, House of Lords and House of Commons journals, rare private bills, other legislative materials, and reports and papers presented to both Houses.