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Simon de Montfort, Anglo-Norman rebel noblemen, convened a ‘parliament’ in Westminster on 20th January 1265, which was dispersed around mid March that year. It was not only in defiance of King Henry III, but was radical in having democratically elected knights and borough representatives from throughout the kingdom. The de Montfort Parliament was the first example of its kind in England.

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I am delighted to have been asked to speak to you this evening. This is an event which marks a number of important themes. As we have heard, we celebrate a major anniversary – the 50th anniversary of the Magna Carta Trust...

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