Western Libraries

United Kingdom - Parliament


The Parliament of the United Kingdom is one of the oldest, dating back to the late 13th and early 14th centuries. It is comprised of the House Commons, House of Lords and the sovereign. The main function of the British Parliament is to make laws, provide the means to carry out the work of the government (via legislation), and scrutinise government policy.

The D.B. Weldon Library has a wealth of government resources for Great Britain. An excellent place to begin searching is the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers (HCCP) database,  which dates back to 1688. This remarkable resource encompasses all areas of social, political, economic and foreign policy, showing how issues were explored and legislation was formed.

The HCCP include documents classified as Bills, House  Papers, and Command Papers. HCCP also includes those Papers of the House of Lords presented to the House of Commons, such as reports prepared by Lords Select Committees. Note: HCPP now includes the full text from Hansard, the Official Report of debates in Parliament, from both the House of Commons and House of Lords, from 1803 to 2005.

The British Government publishes a wide variety of materials divided into two categories:  Parliamentary and Non-Parliamentary publications.

Parliamentary Publications are subdivided as follows:

House of Lords Publications:

  • Minutes of Proceedings
  • Journals
  • Official Report of the Parliamentary Debates
  • Papers and Bills

House of Commons Publications:

  • Votes and Proceedings
  • Journals
  • Official Report of the Parliamentary Debates (Hansards)
  • Papers and Bills

Papers presented to Parliament by Command:

  • Command Papers

Acts and Measures:

Tracing an Act of Parliament a How To from the House of Commons Information Office.

  • Public General Acts
  • Local and Personal Acts
  • Measures of the National Assembly of the Church of England