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Quiz about Help  Im Locked Out of the House
Quiz about Help  Im Locked Out of the House

Help! I'm Locked Out of the House! Quiz


The doors of the House of Commons are locked to all kinds of people - some are barred from entering, some make it inside but leave (by choice or under a cloud). Find out more by taking this quiz.

A multiple-choice quiz by bucknallbabe. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
bucknallbabe
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
314,523
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
687
- -
Question 1 of 10
1. The House of Commons is not actually a physical building but refers to the elected body of the United Kingdom Parliament. Where does it meet? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The "key" that unlocks the door to the House of Commons is electoral success. General Elections are held at least once every five years and seats which become vacant during the life of a Parliament are filled by "by-elections". How is electoral success determined in each electorate? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Anyone hoping to be given a "key" to the House of Commons, must fulfil some basic conditions. Which one of these is NOT one of them?

Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Once inside the House of Commons, some people manage to lose their "key" through no fault of their own. Which of these politicians was given a key in 1950, lost it in 1960 and found it again in 1963? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Sometimes, once they have the "key" to the House of Commons, members find that they no longer want it. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to just give it back so they need to disqualify themselves in some way. Accepting "an office of profit under the Crown" is one way.

Which of these offices is traditionally used to enable members to "resign" from the House of Commons?
Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Another way a "key" to the House of Commons is lost is when its owner dies. In November 1974, one politician attempted to return his "key" by leaving it in a pile of abandoned clothes on a Miami beach. His body was discovered live and well in Melbourne a month later.

Who was it who used a faked suicide to intentionally lock himself out of the House of Commons?
Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. "Keys" to the House of Commons can be lost by upsetting the other people in the house. A good way to do this is to get caught out in something and then lie to everyone about it. In March 1963, a Conservative Secretary of State for War told MPs there was nothing improper about his brief relationship with a showgirl but three months later had to admit he had misled them. Who was this man who had to relinquish his key because he lied? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Money problems are another good way to find yourself locked out of the House of Commons. In 1931, Thomas Isaac Mardy-Jones was forced to hand his "key" back because of financial irregularities. What did he do? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Some people hand back their "keys' because they have a major disagreement with the rest of the House of Commons. On 17th December 1985, no less than 15 MPs walked out of the door. Why?
Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. There are some who manage to take good care of their "keys" to the House of Commons and keep them safe for many years. In the United Kingdom, the non-ministerial Member of Parliament with the longest unbroken stay in the House is honoured by being given what title? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The House of Commons is not actually a physical building but refers to the elected body of the United Kingdom Parliament. Where does it meet?

Answer: Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster is the official name of the building on the north bank of the Thames where both Houses of Parliament (Commons and Lords) meet. It has some 1100 rooms on four floors, linked by approximately three miles of corridors and 100 staircases. The meeting chamber of the House of Commons is on the second floor at the northern end. The Palace has several towers, the most famous of which is the Clock Tower (popularly referred to as Big Ben) in the north east corner.

10 Downing Street is the residence of the Prime Minister; The Mansion House is the base for the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an annually-elected ambassador for the financial institutions of the "City"; City Hall is a striking modern building on the south bank of the Thames and houses the Mayor of (Greater) London, the Greater London Authority and the London Assembly.
2. The "key" that unlocks the door to the House of Commons is electoral success. General Elections are held at least once every five years and seats which become vacant during the life of a Parliament are filled by "by-elections". How is electoral success determined in each electorate?

Answer: First past the post

In a "first past the post", or "simple majority" election, the winner is the one with the most votes. Where the candidates are separated by only a few votes, there may be a recount.

With the "alternative vote", each elector puts some or all of the candidates in order of preference. If no candidate achieves an overall majority (being 50% +1 votes), the candidate with the lowest count is eliminated, and the second preferences of those voters are transferred to the remaining candidates and so on until one candidate gets an overall majority. The "single transferable vote" is similar except that it is usually used when there are several seats to be filled. When a candidate is eliminated or reaches the minimum requirement, surplus votes are transferred in accordance with subsequent preferences until all the vacancies are filled.

If "party lists" are used, electors vote either for a party (closed) or selected party candidates (open) and seats are allocated in proportion to the number of votes cast, sometimes with a minimum threshold. The UK uses this method for European Parliament elections.

The exact details of the above generic electoral systems vary from country to country.
3. Anyone hoping to be given a "key" to the House of Commons, must fulfil some basic conditions. Which one of these is NOT one of them?

Answer: Aged over 21

In UK law, minors are prohibited from being Members of the House of Commons. The age of majority was reduced from 21 to 18 in 1970 but does not appear to have resulted in an influx of young MPs. Sometimes referred to as the "Baby of the House", the youngest members are usually in their mid 20s.
4. Once inside the House of Commons, some people manage to lose their "key" through no fault of their own. Which of these politicians was given a key in 1950, lost it in 1960 and found it again in 1963?

Answer: Tony Benn

Tony Benn was elected as Member of Parliament for Bristol South East in November 1950. However, he knew that as the eldest living son of an hereditary peer, Viscount Stansgate, upon his father's death he would become a member of the House of Lords and thus be ineligible to continue as an MP.

Throughout the 1950s, Benn campaigned for the right to be able to relinquish a peerage but had not succeeded by the time his father died in 1960. In May 1961, he was re-elected to the seat he had resigned from but was disqualified, the seat going instead to the second-placed candidate, Malcolm St Clair. His fight to be able to disclaim his peerage continued and, on 31st July 1963, The Peerage Act became law and Benn became the first to relinquish his peerage (on the same day). St Clair also immediately resigned, as he had promised he would, and Benn won the resulting by-election held in August.

He went on to serve in Harold Wilson's government as Postmaster General and continued in Parliament until 2001. In retirement, he continued his political career by engaging in various campaigns, such as the Stop the War Coalition against the war in Iraq.
5. Sometimes, once they have the "key" to the House of Commons, members find that they no longer want it. Unfortunately, they are not allowed to just give it back so they need to disqualify themselves in some way. Accepting "an office of profit under the Crown" is one way. Which of these offices is traditionally used to enable members to "resign" from the House of Commons?

Answer: Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead

Over the years, several Crown Offices have been used to maintain the fiction that Members of the House of Commons cannot resign but several of these were related to properties no longer in Crown hands and for many years the offices of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead and Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds have alternated. Traditionally, anyone applying for the position is not refused and remains in office until someone else applies.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was originally the official who looked after the management of the Duchy of Lancaster but the role has evolved into a government position for special projects or areas which do not fall into any ministerial remit, effectively a "Minister without Portfolio".

The Queen's Bargemaster is a member of the Royal Household with ceremonial duties related to travel on inland waterways.

The Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports originally had duties related to the five ports of Dover, Hastings, Hythe, New Romney and Sandwich but the title now is a ceremonial one, bestowed as a high honour by the sovereign, often to those who have contributed to defence in wartime, such as Winston Churchill who was Warden from 1941 until his death in 1965.
6. Another way a "key" to the House of Commons is lost is when its owner dies. In November 1974, one politician attempted to return his "key" by leaving it in a pile of abandoned clothes on a Miami beach. His body was discovered live and well in Melbourne a month later. Who was it who used a faked suicide to intentionally lock himself out of the House of Commons?

Answer: John Stonehouse

John Stonehouse had been a Labour MP since 1957, serving as a junior aviation minister and Postmaster General at various times. Stonehouse retained his seat in the 1970 election which Labour lost and began to set up several businesses which by 1974 were in difficulties. It transpired that he had been planning his disappearance for some time, creating a new identity in the name of Joseph Markham.

He was presumed dead but successfully met up with his mistress, Sheila Buckley. The plan ran into trouble in Melbourne where he was mistaken for Lord Lucan, wanted for murder. He was deported to the UK where he stood trial on 21 charges. Stonehouse was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in gaol. Upon conviction, he applied for the office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds. He was released from Wormwood Scrubs prison in 1979 after several heart attacks and died in 1988.

John Poulson was an architect jailed for bribery in connection with architectural projects in 1974. John Major was a Conservative Prime Minister and John Prescott a Labour Minister.
7. "Keys" to the House of Commons can be lost by upsetting the other people in the house. A good way to do this is to get caught out in something and then lie to everyone about it. In March 1963, a Conservative Secretary of State for War told MPs there was nothing improper about his brief relationship with a showgirl but three months later had to admit he had misled them. Who was this man who had to relinquish his key because he lied?

Answer: John Profumo

"The Profumo Affair" was a major political scandal of the 1960s. The showgirl was Christine Keeler who was supposedly also in a relationship with a Russian spy. Whilst the House of Commons may have accepted Profumo's original assurances, the press did not and the papers were full of stories about Keeler and her aquaintances. The implications for national security were obvious and Profumo's final admission that he had lied and there had been a sexual relationship led to his leaving the House of Commons.

After his resignation, he worked as a volunteer for Toynbee Hall, an East End of London charity. This work redeemed his reputation in many eyes and in 1975 he was awarded the honour of a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II. He continued to work for charity and died in 2006.

Harold Macmillan was the Prime Minister at the time. Stephen Ward introduced Profumo to Keeler and was later charged with living off the proceeds of prostitution but committed suicide on the last day of the trial. Jeremy Thorpe was a Liberal Party Leader who was involved in a scandal in the 1970s the culmination of which was his trial in 1979 for attempted murder and conspiracy to murder. He was acquitted of both charges but his political career was over.
8. Money problems are another good way to find yourself locked out of the House of Commons. In 1931, Thomas Isaac Mardy-Jones was forced to hand his "key" back because of financial irregularities. What did he do?

Answer: Let family members use his railway vouchers

The case of Thomas Isaac Mardy-Jones was revived in 2004 when David Blunkett, a Labour Minister at the time, allowed his lover to use the railway vouchers given to Members of Parliament to help defray the cost of travelling from the constituency to Westminster. Mardy-Jones had risen to be an MP from very humble beginnings and found the financial burden rather heavy, especially as the small salary of 350 was paid quarterly. He sent the vouchers to his wife who tried to use them for travel for herself and their daughter. Unfortunately, one voucher was out of date and the Great Western Railway successfully prosecuted Mardy-Jones and his wife for attempting to defraud the railway.

Mardy-Jones had to resign his seat and unsuccessfully fought the ensuing by-election as an Independent Labour candidate. Blunkett maintained the railway voucher issue was a mistake and repaid the money and was able to retain his seat although another scandal around the same time led to his resignation as Home Secretary.
9. Some people hand back their "keys' because they have a major disagreement with the rest of the House of Commons. On 17th December 1985, no less than 15 MPs walked out of the door. Why?

Answer: Margaret Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement

The Anglo-Irish Agreement was an attempt to solve the political problems in Northern Ireland and consisted of an agreement between the governments of the United Kingdom and Ireland in which the latter was given an advisory role in the government of Northern Ireland. The 15 MPs who walked out were Ulster Unionist and Democratic Ulster Unionist MPs who objected to Ireland's involvement and the fact that they had been excluded from the negotiating process.

The mass resignations were effected by each MP applying for one of the two Crown Offices for profit reserved for this purpose - each one held the office for a short while and then resigned from it.

The Treaty of Rome set up the "Common Market" and the UK was not a signatory. The Treaty of Brussels was the precursor of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation). The 1992 Treaty of Maastricht set up the European Union and the "euro".
10. There are some who manage to take good care of their "keys" to the House of Commons and keep them safe for many years. In the United Kingdom, the non-ministerial Member of Parliament with the longest unbroken stay in the House is honoured by being given what title?

Answer: Father of the House

"The Father of the House" has only one duty - that of overseeing the election of a new Speaker of the House. The Speaker is a politically impartial officer of the House with the role of chairing debate. S/he ensures that the rules of the House are kept and can discipline members who fail to behave appropriately during debate.

"Black Rod" is an officer of the House of Lords who acts as the Sovereign's personal attendant and is responsible for security. The incumbent comes into the public eye at the state opening of Parliament where he officially summons the members of the Commons to the chamber of the House of Lords to hear the Sovereign's speech. As he approaches the door to the Commons he is physically locked out by the slamming of the doors, a symbol of the independence of the Commons. He then hits the door three times with his staff and the summons is issued.

The Serjeant at Arms is the Commons counterpart of Black Rod.
Source: Author bucknallbabe

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor Bruyere before going online.
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