Father of the House

Father of the House is a term that has been traditionally bestowed, unofficially, on certain members of some legislatures, most notably the House of Commons in the United Kingdom. In some legislatures the term refers to the longest continuously-serving member, while in others it refers to the oldest member. Recently, the term Mother of the House or Mother of Parliament has also been used, although the usage varies between countries; it is simply the female alternative to Father of the House, being applied when the relevant member is a woman.

United Kingdom

House of Commons

Kenneth Clarke MP - official photo 2017
Kenneth Clarke, current Father of the UK House of Commons

The Father of the House is a title that is bestowed on the senior member of the House of Commons who has the longest continuous service.[1][2] If two or more members have the same length of current uninterrupted service, then whoever was sworn in earliest, as listed in Hansard, is named as Father of the House.[3] Traditionally, however, the qualification used for the Father of the House are not entirely clear and may have included the oldest member, the member with the longest aggregate service, or the member who entered the House longest ago.[2]

The only formal duty of the Father of the House is to preside over the election of the Speaker of the House of Commons. However, the relevant Standing Order does not refer to this member by the title of "Father of the House", referring instead to the longest-serving member of the House present who is not a Minister of the Crown. Until 1971, the Clerk of the House of Commons presided over the election of the speaker. As the clerk is never a member, and therefore is not permitted to speak, he would silently stand and point at the Member who was to speak. However, this procedure broke down at the election of a new Speaker in 1971 and was changed upon the recommendation of a Select Committee.[4]

The current Father of the House of Commons is Kenneth Clarke, Conservative MP for Rushcliffe, who began his continuous service at the 1970 general election. Dennis Skinner, Labour MP for Bolsover, also began continuous service at the 1970 general election, but was sworn in after Clarke.[5][6][3]

The first recorded usage of the title dates back to 1816 an engraved portrait of Whitshed Keene by Charles Picart, dated 1 February. Henry Campbell-Bannerman was simultaneously Father of the House and Prime Minister from May 1907 until soon before his death during April 1908.[2] On 13 June 2017, Harriet Harman was dubbed "Mother of the House" by Prime Minister Theresa May, in recognition of her status as the longest continuously serving woman MP.[7]

Name Entered Parliament Father (Standing Order No 1) Left House Party Constituency
Sir John Fagg 1654 1701 1701 Steyning
Thomas Turgis 1659 1701 1704 Gatton
Sir Christopher Musgrave, 4th Baronet 1661 1704 1704 Westmorland
Thomas Strangways 1673 1704 1713 Dorset
Sir Richard Onslow 1679 1713 1715 Whig Guildford (1713–14)
Surrey (1714–15)
Thomas Erle 1679 1715 1718 Whig Wareham
Edward Vaughan 1679 1718 1718 Whig Cardiganshire
Richard Vaughan 1685
continuous from 1689
1718 1724 Whig Carmarthen
Lord William Powlett 1689 1724 1729 Tory Winchester (1689–1710, 1715–29)
Lymington (1710–15)
Sir Justinian Isham, 4th Baronet 1685
continuous from 1694
1729 1730 Tory Northampton (1685–90, 1694–98)
Northamptonshire (1698–30)
Sir Charles Turner, 1st Baronet, of Warham 1695 1730 1738 Tory King's Lynn
Sir Roger Bradshaigh 1695 1738 1747 Tory Wigan
Sir Edward Ashe 1695 1747 1747 Tory Heytesbury
Sir Thomas Cartwright 1695
continuous from 1701
1747 1748 Tory Northamptonshire
Sir Richard Shuttleworth 1705 1748 1749 Tory Lancashire
Phillips Gybbon 1707 1749 1762 Whig Rye
Sir John Rushout, 4th Baronet 1713 1762 1768 Tory Malmesbury (1713–22)
Evesham (1722–68)
William Aislabie 1721 1768 1781 Whig Ripon
Charles FitzRoy-Scudamore 1733 1781 1782 Whig Thetford (1733–54, 1774–82)
Hereford (1754–68)
Heytesbury (1768–74)
The Earl Nugent 1741 1782 1784 Tory St Mawes (1741–54, 1774–84)
Bristol (1754–74)
Sir Charles Frederick 1741 1784 Tory New Shoreham (1741–54)
Queenborough (1754–84)
The Lord Mendip 1741 1784 1790 Tory Cricklade (1741–47)
Weymouth and Melcombe Regis (1747–61, 1774–90)
Aylesbury (1761–68)
Petersfield (1768–74, 1791–95)
William Drake 1746 1790 1796 Amersham
Sir Philip Stephens, 1st Baronet 1759 1796 1806 Tory Liskeard (1759–68)
Sandwich (1768–1801)
Clement Tudway 1761 1806 1815 Wells
Sir John Aubrey, 6th Baronet 1768 1815 1826 Tory Wallingford (1768–74, 1780–84)
Aylesbury (1774–1780)
Buckinghamshire (1780–90)
Clitheroe (1790–96)
Aldeburgh (1796–1801)
Steyning (1812–20)
Horsham (1820–26)
Sir Samuel Smith 1788 1826 1832 Tory St Germans (1788–90)
Leicester (1790–1818)
Midhurst (1818–20)
Wendover (1820–32)
George Byng 1790 1832 1847 Whig Middlesex
Charles Williams-Wynn 1797 1847 1850 Conservative Old Sarum (1797–99)
Montgomeryshire (1797–1850)
George Harcourt 1806 1850 1861 Whig Lichfield (1806–31)
Oxfordshire (1831–62)
Sir Charles Burrell, 3rd Baronet 1806 1861 1862 Conservative New Shoreham
Henry Cecil Lowther 1812 1862 1867 Conservative Westmorland
Thomas Peers Williams 1820 1867 1868 Conservative Marlow
Henry Lowry-Corry 1825 1868 1873 Conservative Tyrone
George Weld-Forester 1828 1873 1874 Conservative Wenlock
Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot 1830 1874 1890 Liberal Glamorganshire (1830–85)
Mid Glamorganshire (1885–90)
Charles Pelham Villiers 1835 1890 1898 Liberal Unionist Wolverhampton (1835–85)
Wolverhampton South (1885–1898)
Sir John Mowbray, 1st Baronet 1853 1898 1899 Conservative Durham City (1853–85)
Oxford University (1885–1899)
William Wither Beach 1857 1899 1901 Conservative North Hampshire (1857–85)
Andover (1885–1901)
Michael Hicks Beach 1864 1901 1906 Conservative Gloucestershire East (1864–85)
Bristol West (1885–1906)
George Finch 1867 1906 1907 Conservative Rutland
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman 1868 1907 1908 Liberal Stirling Burghs
Sir John Kennaway, 3rd Baronet 1870 1908 1910 Conservative East Devon (1870–85)
Honiton (1885–1910)
Thomas Burt 1874 1910 1918 Lib-Lab Morpeth
T. P. O'Connor 1880 1918 1929 Irish Nationalist Galway Borough (1880–85)
Liverpool Scotland (1885–1929)
David Lloyd George 1890 1929 1945 Liberal Caernarvon Boroughs
The Earl Winterton 1904 1945 1951 Conservative Horsham (1904–18, 1945–51)
Horsham and Worthing (1918–45)
Sir Hugh O'Neill 1915 1951 1952 UUP Mid Antrim (1915–22)
Antrim (1922–50)
North Antrim (1950–52)
David Grenfell 1922 1952 1959 Labour Gower
Sir Winston Churchill 1900
continuous from 1924
1959 1964 Conservative Oldham (1900–06)
Manchester North West (1906–08)
Dundee (1908–22)
Epping (1924–45)
Woodford (1945–64)
R. A. Butler 1929 1964 1965 Conservative Saffron Walden
Sir Robin Turton 1929 1965 1974 Conservative Thirsk and Malton
George Strauss 1929
continuous from 1934
1974 1979 Labour Lambeth North (1929–31, 1934–50)
Vauxhall (1950–79)
John Parker 1935 1979 1983 Labour Romford (1935–45)
Dagenham (1945–83)
James Callaghan 1945 1983 1987 Labour Cardiff South (1945–50)
Cardiff South East (1950–83)
Cardiff South and Penarth (1983–87)
Sir Bernard Braine 1950 1987 1992 Conservative Billericay (1950–55)
South East Essex (1955–83)
Castle Point (1983–92)
Sir Edward Heath 1950 1992 2001 Conservative Bexley (1950–74)
Sidcup (1974–83)
Old Bexley and Sidcup (1983–2001)
Tam Dalyell 1962 2001 2005 Labour West Lothian (1962–83)
Linlithgow (1983–2005)
Alan Williams 1964 2005 2010 Labour Swansea West
Sir Peter Tapsell 1959
continuous from 1966
2010 2015 Conservative Nottingham West (1959–64)
Horncastle (1966–83)
East Lindsey (1983–97)
Louth and Horncastle (1997–2015)
Sir Gerald Kaufman 1970 2015 2017 Labour Manchester Ardwick (1970–83)
Manchester Gorton (1983–2017)
Kenneth Clarke 1970 2017 incumbent Conservative Rushcliffe (1970–present)

Longest serving member of the House of Lords

The title 'Father of the House' is not used in the House of Lords. The longest-serving member is recorded on the House website, though no duties or special distinctions are associated with the position[8] As of 2018, the longest serving member is The Lord Denham (Conservative), who first took his seat on 13 December 1949[9] (having succeeded his father in the peerage the previous year). The House of Lords Act 1999 repealed the automatic right of hereditary peers to be members of the House of Lords; Denham was one of those elected to continue as a member under section 2 of the Act.

As of 2018, the longest-serving life peer is The Baroness Masham of Ilton (Crossbench), who is also the longest serving female member of the House. She first took her seat on 25 February 1970.[10]

Australia

In Australia, the current member of the House of Representatives with the longest period of continuous service, whether a Minister or not, is known as "Father of the House". Similarly, the current member of the Senate with the longest period of continuous service is known as "Father of the Senate". The longer serving of the two Fathers is called "Father of the Parliament".

As in Britain, these terms have no official status. However, unlike Britain:

  • the term Father of the House/Senate applies where there is one member whose continuous service is unequivocally longer than any other, as determined by the date of election (House) or the date of the start of the term (Senate). Where two or more members have equal length of continuous service, more than any other members, they are considered joint Fathers of the House/Senate. Some state parliaments, however, use the British convention of giving precedence by order of swearing into office.
  • the Father of the House and the Father of the Senate in Australia do not have any parliamentary role at all. The election of the presiding officers is conducted by the Clerk of the House and the Clerk of the Senate respectively.

Since 6 February 2015, Senator Ian Macdonald, who was first appointed during 1990, has been the Father of the Senate.

Philip Ruddock, who was first elected during 1973, was the Father of the House of Representatives and Father of the Parliament from 1 September 1998 until his retirement on 9 May 2016. He was succeeded by Senator Ian Macdonald as Father of the Parliament and Kevin Andrews as Father of the House.

Canada

The longest-serving member of the House of Commons who is not a cabinet minister is known as the Dean of the House, and presides over the election of the Speaker at the beginning of each Parliament. The same term is used for the equivalent position in the United States House of Representatives.

Finland

Member Became oldest member
Iisakki Hoikka 1907, 1908
John Hedberg 1908, 1909, 1909, 1913
Leo Mechelin 1910, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913
John Hedberg 1914
Axel Lille 1917
Rabbe Wrede 1917, 1918, 1918
Wilhelmi Malmivaara 1919
Artur Wuorimaa 1920, 1921
Waldemar Bergroth 1918, 1922 – 1926
Juho Torppa 1927, 1928, 1929
Anders Forsberg 1929, 1930
Pehr Evind Svinhufvud 1930, 1931
K. J. Ståhlberg 1932, 1932
Matti Paasivuori 1933, 1934, 1935, 1935
Miina Sillanpää 1936 – 1947
Akseli Brander 1948 – 1950
Väinö Tanner 1951 – 1953
Matti Lahtela 1954 – 1957
Väinö Tanner 1958 – 1961
Raino Hallberg 1962 – 1965
Kustaa Tiitu 1966 – 1969
Rafael Paasio 1970 – 1975
Evald Häggblom 1975, 1976
V. J. Sukselainen 1976, 1977, 1978
Mikko Kaarna 1979 – 1982
Tuure Junnila 1983 – 1986
Johannes Virolainen 1987 – 1989
Tuure Junnila 1990
Maunu Kohijoki 1991 – 1994
Martti Tiuri 1995 – 2002
Kalevi Lamminen 2003 – 2006
Claes Andersson 2007 – 2008
Jacob Söderman[11] 2008[12]- 2009[13]-2010
Kauko Tuupainen 2011 – 2013
Jörn Donner 2014
Pertti Salolainen 2015 –

Germany

Starting with the Frankfurter Nationalversammlung (Frankfurt Parliament) of 1848, all German parliaments had a father of the House, usually called Alterspräsident (President by right of age). This tradition was continued into the Weimar Republic and, after being discontinued in Nazi Germany, was resumed by the present Parliament (Bundestag) in the Federal Republic, whose rules of procedure mandate that the father of the house presides over the Parliament (Bundestag) at the start of each legislative period.

In accordance with tradition, the Alterspräsident first ascertains himself that he is indeed the oldest member (since: 2017 longest sitting member) of the Bundestag by stating his date of birth (since 2017: the number of years, he or she has served in the Bundestag) and asking if anyone is present, who was born before this date (since 2017: who has served more years). If no older (longer serving) member of the Bundestag is present (which is usually the case) he will formally declare that he indeed is the Alterspräsident and will start proceedings.

As acting President of the Bundestag (Bundestagspräsident) he delivers the first programmatic speech and supervises the election of the President of the Bundestag. He then yields his power to the newly elected President of the Bundestag, who will in turn supervise the elections of the Vice Presidents of the Bundestag.

The rules of order of the Bundestag also state that the Alterspräsident shall act as President of the Bundestag at any given time during a legislative period, if the whole Presidium (i.e. the President and the Vice Presidents of the Bundestag) is altogether unable to perform its duties.

As the Alterspräsident's opening speech usually draws a certain amount of public attention, the position has recently attracted controversy, when the Party of Democratic Socialism (the succcesor of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany) obtained the position by including aged independents (Stefan Heym in 1994, Fred Gebhardt in 1998) in their party lists. In 2017, the Bundestag changed its rules of procedure to have the member with the longest service in the Bundestag serve as father of the house, rather than the oldest member.[14]

Alterspräsidenten of the German Bundestag
Bundestag Name Term Parliamentary
party
Notes
1 1949–1953 Paul Löbe
(1875–1967)
1949–1953 SPD longtime Reichstagspräsident during the Weimar Republic
2 1953–1957 Marie Elisabeth Lüders
(1878–1966)
1953–1957 FDP stood in for Konrad Adenauer, the oldest member, who refused the position due to his position as Chancellor
3 1957–1961 Marie Elisabeth Lüders 1957–1961 FDP
4 1961–1965 Robert Pferdmenges
(1880–1962)
1961–1962 CDU
Konrad Adenauer
(1876–1967)
1963–1965 CDU assumed the position after his resignation as Chancellor
5 1965–1969 Konrad Adenauer 1965–1967 CDU died in 1967
William Borm
(1895–1987)
1967–1969 FDP
6 1969–1972 William Borm 1969–1972 FDP
7 1972–1976 Ludwig Erhard
(1897–1977)
1972–1976 CDU
8 1976–1980 Ludwig Erhard 1976–1977 CDU died in 1977
Johann Baptist Gradl
(1904–1988)
1977–1980 CDU
9 1980–1983 Herbert Wehner
(1906–1990)
1980–1983 SPD
10 1983–1987 Willy Brandt
(1913–1992)
1983–1987 SPD stood in for Egon Franke, who refused the position
11 1987–1990 Willy Brandt 1987–1990 SPD
12 1990–1994 Willy Brandt 1990–1992 SPD died in 1992
Alfred Dregger
(1920–2002)
1992–1994 CDU
13 1994–1998 Stefan Heym
(1913–2001)
1994–1995 PDS resigned his seat in 1995
Alfred Dregger 1995–1998 CDU
14 1998–2002 Fred Gebhardt
(1928–2000)
1998–2000 PDS died in 2000
Hans-Eberhard Urbaniak
(born 1929)
2000–2002 SPD
15 2002–2005 Otto Schily
(born 1932)
2002–2005 SPD
16 2005–2009 Otto Schily 2005–2009 SPD
17 2009–2013 Heinz Riesenhuber
(born 1935)
2009–2013 CDU
18 2013–2017 Heinz Riesenhuber 2013–2017 CDU
19 2017–present Hermann Otto Solms
(born 1940 and member of parliament for 33 years, 1980–2013 and since 2017)
FDP The first father of the house under the changed rules of procedure. Stood in for Wolfgang Schäuble (member of parliament for 45 years, since 1972), who was subsequently elected President of the Bundestag.

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, there is no such term as "Father of the House". Instead, the longest-serving member was termed the Senior Unofficial Member and was the highest-ranking unofficial member of the Executive Council and the Legislative Council until the title was abolished during 1995 and 1992 respectively.

After the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong, James To became the de facto longest serving member of the Legislative Council since 2016 after several members who had been served since the 1st Legislative Council retired.

Hungary

In Hungary, the term refers to the oldest member of the National Assembly (previously House of Representatives, the lower house). Before the open session, the senior chairperson and junior notaries review the mandates of all the elected MPs in addition to their own. He or she presides over the newly elected parliament until the appointment of the officials.

Member Party Entered Parliament Became oldest member Left House
Géza Malasits MSZDP 1924 1945 1948 †
MDP
Dezső Pattantyús-Ábrahám FMDP 1947 1948 1949
Ferenc Harrer Ind. 1949 1949 1969 †
Janka Stark MSZMP 1958 1969 1975
László Pesta MSZMP 1949 1975 1990
Kálmán Kéri MDF 1990 1990 1994 †
Vince Vörös FKGP 1990 1994 1994
László Varga KDNP 1994 1994 2003 †
Fidesz
János Horváth Fidesz 1998 2003 2014
Béla Turi-Kovács Fidesz 1998 2014 Incumbent

Israel

In the beginning of each Knesset, before the election of a permanent speaker, there is a temporary speaker. In the past it was the oldest member of Knesset, now it is the longest-serving member. Michael Eitan is the most recent Knesset member to serve in this capacity, doing so from February 24 - March 30, 2010. In 2013 it was Benyamin Ben-Eliezer who had this position, and during 2015, it was Amir Peretz.

Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, the term Father of the Dáil is an unofficial title applied to the longest-serving Teachta Dála (TD) in Dáil Éireann. The current Father is the former Taoiseach and Fine Gael party leader, Enda Kenny, TD, since the retirement of Séamus Pattison at the 2007 general election. On a number of occasions two or more people have shared the position of Father of the Dáil.

Malaysia

In Malaysia the term "Father of the House" is rarely used. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who was elected during 1974, has been the longest serving MP in the Dewan Rakyat. He is also the current oldest serving MP aged 81 years, 10 months.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the term "Father of the House" (alternatively, "Mother of the House"), as an unofficial title, designates the longest continuously serving MP of the House of Representatives. The Father of the House has no official role in Parliament. Former Cabinet Minister Nick Smith became the longest-serving member in March 2018, having served continuously since the 1990 general election.[15]

Norway

Norway doesn't have such a tradition. In most cases the Stortingspresident or a member of the presidium from the previous term are asked to lead the proceedings until a new President is elected.

Russia

Traditionally when a new Russian parliament is formed the eldest deputy opens and manages the first session until a chairman is elected. In the history of the post-Soviet Dumas these were:

Serbia

In the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, the oldest MP serves as the Acting Speaker presiding over the constitutive session, before the Speaker is elected.

Singapore

Until his death on 23 March 2015, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was the longest serving Member of Parliament (Tanjong Pagar) and thus the Father of the House.[16] As of April 2015, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong is Father of the House, as the longest serving MP (from the district named Marine Parade).[16]

Sweden

In Sweden the Riksdagsordningen law states that the member of the Riksdag who has held his elected seat for the longest shall be the Ålderspresident, which translates to President by age. The Ålderspresident acts as speaker of the Riksdag after each election, before the Speaker of the Riksdag has been elected. The Ålderspresident also acts as speaker in case of hindrance on behalf of the Speaker and all three Deputy Speakers.

Members of the Riksdag who has held the position of Ålderspresident:

See also

References

  1. ^ "Father of the House: House of Commons Background Paper". House of Commons Library. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "The Father of the House" (PDF). Factsheet M3. London: House of Commons Information Office. March 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  3. ^ a b Moss, Stephen (2 May 2015). "Labour's Dennis Skinner at 83: 'Father of the House? You must be joking'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  4. ^ "The Speaker" (PDF). Westminster, United Kingdom: House of Commons Information Office. September 2003. pp. 4–5.
  5. ^ "Members Sworn". Hansard. Hansard Digitisation Project. 30 June 1970. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  6. ^ "Members Sworn". Hansard. Hansard Digitisation Project. 1 July 1970. Retrieved 2009-12-01.
  7. ^ "Election of Speaker". Hansard. UK: Commons. 13 June 2017.
  8. ^ Parliament.UK – House of Lords FAQS – Membership and principal office holders at parliament.uk
  9. ^ http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1949/dec/13/prayers#S5LV0165P0_19491213_HOL_2
  10. ^ http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/lords/1970/feb/25/baroness-masham-of-ilton#S5LV0308P0_19700225_HOL_3
  11. ^ Söderman toimi puhemiesvaalin toimittajana, koska Andersson oli sairauslomalla; Hs.fi: Sauli Niinistö jatkaa eduskunnan puhemiehenä. Viitattu 24.4.2015. (in Finnish)
  12. ^ Eduskunta: Täysistunnon pöytäkirja PTK 1/2008 vp (in Finnish)
  13. ^ Eduskunta: Täysistunnon pöytäkirja PTK 1/2009 vp (in Finnish)
  14. ^ "Deutscher Bundestag - I. Wahl des Präsidenten, der Stellvertreter und Schriftführer".
  15. ^ "Back to reality: Ardern has a daunting list to check off". Noted. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  16. ^ a b "Pressrun.net". www.pressrun.net.

External links

Alan Williams (Swansea West MP)

Alan John Williams (14 October 1930 – 21 December 2014) was a British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Swansea West from 1964 to 2010. He was the longest serving MP for a Welsh constituency since David Lloyd George and built a reputation for his detailed scrutiny of the ways in which public money was spent.

Baron Forester

Baron Forester, of Willey Park in the County of Shropshire, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1821 for Cecil Weld-Forester, who had previously represented Wenlock in the House of Commons. Born Cecil Forester, he assumed the additional surname of Weld by royal licence in 1811. His son, the second Baron, also represented Wenlock from 1790 in Parliament, and later served in the Tory administration of Sir Robert Peel as Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (Government Chief Whip in the House of Lords) from 1841 to 1846.

He was succeeded by his younger brother, the third Baron. He sat as a Conservative Member of Parliament for Wenlock for 46 years, and was Father of the House from 1873 to 1874. His nephew, the fifth Baron, also represented Wenlock in Parliament as a Conservative. Both his son, the sixth Baron, and grandson, the seventh Baron, served as Mayor of Wenlock. As of 2017, the title is held by the latter's grandson, the ninth Baron, who succeeded his father in 2004.

The family were anciently hereditary foresters of Wellington Hay in Mount Gilbert Forest, and lived at Wellington or at Watling Street Hall (later Old hall), where they had a half virgate of land held by keeping the Hay. John Forester (died c. 1521) leased Wellington Hay from perhaps 1512, and another John Forester bought its freehold in 1555. The family became gentry and several of the family became Members of Parliament for Wenlock. Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, was a great-great-granddaughter of the 1st Baron Forester.

The family seat is Willey Hall, near Willey, Shropshire. The estate was inherited by Brooke Forester through his wife and has remained in the Weld-Forester family for over three centuries.

Bay of Islands (New Zealand electorate)

Bay of Islands is a former New Zealand parliamentary electorate. It existed during various periods between 1853 and 1993. It was thus one of the original 24 electoral districts, and New Zealand's first ever MP was elected, although unopposed, in the Bay of Islands; Hugh Carleton thus liked to be called the Father of the House.

Benny Ninja

Benny Ninja (né Benjamin Thomas) is a self-taught Vogue-style dancer from the underground clubs based in Westchester, New York. He is best known for his involvement in ball culture. He is the father of the House of Ninja, a post given to him by the late Willi Ninja of Paris is Burning fame.In his dance, Ninja incorporates aspects of martial arts, gymnastics, house dancing, and yoga. He has performed throughout the United States and Europe.Ninja is a vogue teacher at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. He is also the co-owner and master training instructor of the Benny Ninja Training Academy.Ninja was involved in the Metro-North train derailment that took place on Sunday December 1, 2013. He survived the accident but was "emotionally shaken" and suffered "some injuries." Following his accident, Javier Ninja now occupies the role of Father of the House of Ninja.

Dean of the United States House of Representatives

The Dean of the United States House of Representatives is the longest continuously serving member of the House. The current Dean is Don Young, a Republican Party representative from Alaska who has served since 1973, and is the first Republican Dean in more than eighty years, as well as the first from Alaska. The Dean is a symbolic post whose only customary duty is to swear in a Speaker of the House after he or she is elected. (This responsibility was first recorded in 1819 but has not been observed continuously - at times, the Speaker-elect was the current Dean or the Speaker-elect preferred to be sworn in by a member of his own party when the Dean belonged to another party.) The Dean comes forward on the House Floor to administer the oath to the Speaker-elect, before the new Speaker then administers the oath to the other members.While the Dean does swear in newly elected Speakers, he or she does not preside over the election of a Speaker, as do the Father of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom and the Dean of the Canadian House of Commons.

Because of other privileges associated with seniority, the Dean is usually allotted some of the most desirable office space, and is generally either chair or ranking minority member of an influential committee.

It is unclear when the position first achieved concrete recognition, though the seniority system and increasing lengths of service emerged in the early 20th century. As late as 1924, Frederick H. Gillett was Dean, and also Speaker, before becoming a Senator. Modern Deans move into their positions so late in their careers that a move to the Senate is highly unlikely. When Ed Markey broke Gillett's record for time in the House before moving to the Senate in 2013 he was still decades junior to the sitting Dean.

The Deanship can change hands unexpectedly. In the 1952 election, Adolph J. Sabath became the first Representative elected to a 24th term, breaking the record of 23 terms first set by former Speaker Joseph Gurney Cannon, whose service had been discontinuous, whereas Sabath's was not. North Carolina's Robert L. Doughton had not contested that election as he was retiring at the age of 89 years and two months, a House age record broken in 1998 by Sidney R. Yates, and again by Ralph Hall in 2012. Claude Pepper, who died early in his final term in 1989, held the record for oldest winner of a House election until Hall broke it in 2012. However, Sabath died before the new term began and Doughton was Dean for the old term's final months before Speaker Sam Rayburn became Dean in the new Congress.

In 1994, Texas Democrat Jack Brooks was defeated by Steve Stockman in the year he was expected to succeed Jamie Whitten as Dean.

Edward Turnour, 6th Earl Winterton

Edward Turnour, 6th Earl Winterton, PC (4 April 1883 – 26 August 1962), styled Viscount Turnour until 1907, was an Irish peer and British politician in the first half of the twentieth century who achieved the rare distinction of serving as both Baby of the House and Father of the House at the opposite ends of his career in the House of Commons.

Father of the House (New Zealand)

Father or Mother of the House, is an unofficial title applied to the longest-serving member of parliament (MP) sitting in the New Zealand House of Representatives. No duties or special distinctions are associated with the position.

The current Father of the House is Nick Smith, a former Cabinet Minister, having served continuously since 1990. He succeeded former Prime Minister Bill English as Father of the House when the latter resigned as an MP in March 2018. The position falls to the longest continually serving member. While Winston Peters first entered parliament in 1979, he was not an MP from 1981 to 1984, or between 2008 and 2011.In New Zealand's first general election of 1853, the Bay of Islands electorate was the first to declare the election of a successful candidate, Hugh Carleton, who was returned unopposed. In the subsequent General Assembly of 1854, Carleton liked to be known as the Father of the House.

George Weld-Forester, 3rd Baron Forester

George Cecil Weld-Forester, 3rd Baron Forester PC (10 May 1807 – 14 February 1886), styled The Honourable George Weld-Forester between 1821 and 1874, was a British Conservative politician and army officer. He notably served as Comptroller of the Household in 1852 and from 1858 to 1859. A long-standing MP, he was Father of the House of Commons from 1873 to 1874, when he succeeded his elder brother in the barony and took a seat in the House of Lords.

Gerald Kaufman

Sir Gerald Bernard Kaufman (21 June 1930 – 26 February 2017) was a British Labour politician who served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1970 until his death in 2017, first for Manchester Ardwick and then for Manchester Gorton. He was a government minister in the 1970s and a member of the Shadow Cabinet in the 1980s. Knighted in 2004, he became Father of the House in 2015 and was the oldest sitting MP of the UK Parliament at the time of his death.

He was known for his forthright views, but very rarely voted against the Labour Party whip, thus his two rebellions carried greater weight. Kaufman was a critic of the state of Israel and came under criticism himself during the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal.

John Parker (Labour politician)

Herbert John Harvey Parker (15 July 1906 – 24 November 1987), normally known as John Parker, was a British politician. He was the longest-serving Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP), retaining his seat in the House of Commons for nearly 48 years, until being overtaken by Dennis Skinner on 17 December 2017.

He was first elected to represent Romford in November 1935. After boundary changes, he continued as MP for Dagenham from 1945, remaining in the House of Commons until he retired in June 1983. As the longest-serving MP, he was the Father of the House of Commons from 1979 to 1983. When he left parliament in 1983, he was the last serving Member of Parliament to have served in the Commons before or during the Second World War.

Liberal-Labour (UK)

"Lib-Lab(s)" redirects here. See Lib-Lab pact for UK Liberal Party-Labour Party agreements and LibLab for the Norwegian think-tank.The Liberal–Labour movement refers to the practice of local Liberal associations accepting and supporting candidates who were financially maintained by trade unions. These candidates stood for the British Parliament with the aim of representing the working classes, while remaining supportive of the Liberal Party in general.

The first Lib–Lab candidate to stand was George Odger in the Southwark by-election of 1870. The first Lib–Lab candidates to be elected were Alexander MacDonald and Thomas Burt, both members of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain (MFGB), in the 1874 general election. In 1880, they were joined by Henry Broadhurst of the Operative Society of Masons and the movement reached its peak in 1885, with twelve MPs elected. These include

William Abraham (Mabon) in the Rhondda division whose claims to the Liberal nomination were essentially based on his working class credentials.

The candidates generally stood with the support of the Liberal Party, the Labour Representation League and one or more trade unions. After 1885, decline set in. Disillusion grew from the defeat of the Manningham Mills Strike, a series of decisions restricting the activity of unions, culminating in the Taff Vale Case and largely unchallenged by the Liberal Party, and the foundation of the Independent Labour Party in 1892 followed by its turn towards trade unionism.

The formation of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 followed by the Labour Party in 1906, meant that in the House of Commons, there were two groups of MPs containing Trade Union sponsored MPs, sitting on either side of the chamber. (about 28 took the Labour whip and about 23 took the Liberal whip) The Trades Union Congress decided to instruct its affiliate unions to require their MPs to stand at the next election as Labour Party candidates and take the Labour whip. Of the 23 Trade Union sponsored Liberal MPs, 15 were sponsored by unions affiliated to the Miners Federation of Great Britain (MFGB). When the MFGB affiliated to the Labour Party in 1909, most of their MPs joined Labour after the January 1910 general election.

The Liberal-Labour group finally died out at the 1918 general election, when Thomas Burt (by then Father of the House) and Arthur Richardson stood down.

Michael Hicks Beach, 1st Earl St Aldwyn

Michael Edward Hicks Beach, 1st Earl St Aldwyn, (23 October 1837 – 30 April 1916), known as Sir Michael Hicks Beach, Bt, from 1854 to 1906 and subsequently as The Viscount St Aldwyn to 1915, was a British Conservative politician. Known as "Black Michael", he notably served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1885 to 1886 and again from 1895 to 1902 and also led the Conservative Party in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1886. Due to the length of his service, he was Father of the House from 1901 to 1906, when he took his peerage.

Peter Tapsell (British politician)

Sir Peter Hannay Bailey Tapsell (1 February 1930 – 18 August 2018) was a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Louth and Horncastle. He served in the House of Commons continuously from 1966 until 2015 and was also previously an MP from 1959 to 1964. He was Father of the House between 2010 and 2015.

Sir John Mowbray, 1st Baronet

Sir John Robert Mowbray, 1st Baronet PC (3 June 1815 – 22 April 1899), known as John Cornish until 1847, was a British Conservative politician and long-serving Member of Parliament, eventually serving as Father of the House.

Sir John Rushout, 4th Baronet

Sir John Rushout, 4th Baronet (6 February 1685 – 2 February 1775) was a British politician who sat in the House of Commons for 55 years from 1713 to 1768, being Father of the House from 1762.

South Australian House of Assembly

The House of Assembly, or lower house, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of South Australia. The other is the Legislative Council. It sits in Parliament House in the state capital, Adelaide.

Swansea West (UK Parliament constituency)

Swansea West (Welsh: Gorllewin Abertawe) is a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election, and is currently represented by Geraint Davies of the Labour Co-operative party, who was first elected in the constituency in 2010.

The National Assembly for Wales constituency of the same name presently has the same boundaries.

Alan Williams represented the seat for the Labour Party from 1964 until his retirement in 2010; from 2005 until his retirement he was the Father of the House (meaning longest-serving MP currently sitting).

Sydenham (New Zealand electorate)

Sydenham was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, from 1881 to 1890 and again from 1946 to 1996. It had notable politicians representing it like Mabel Howard (the first female cabinet minister in New Zealand), Norman Kirk (who became Prime Minister while holding Sydenham) and Jim Anderton (the former Father of the House, who started his parliamentary career in Sydenham).

Viscount Torrington

Viscount Torrington is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1721 for the statesman Sir George Byng, 1st Baronet, along with the subsidiary title Baron Byng, of Southill in the County of Bedford, also in the Peerage of Great Britain. He had already been created a baronet, of Wrotham in the County of Kent, in the Baronetage of Great Britain in 1715. His eldest son, the second Viscount, represented Plymouth and Bedfordshire in the House of Commons and later served as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard from 1746 to 1747. His younger brother, the third Viscount, was a major-general in the Army. His grandson, the sixth Viscount, was a vice-admiral in the Royal Navy. His son, the seventh Viscount, served as Governor of Ceylon between 1847 and 1850.On his death the titles passed to his nephew, the eighth Viscount, the son of Honourable Robert Barlow Palmer Byng, third son of the sixth Viscount. He was succeeded by his son, the ninth Viscount. However, this line of the family failed on his death in 1944 and the titles passed to the late Viscount's first cousin, the tenth Viscount. As of 2013 the titles are held by the latter's grandson, the eleventh Viscount, who succeeded on his grandfather's death in 1961.Several other members of the Byng family have also gained distinction. The Hon. Robert Byng, third son of the first Viscount, was Member of Parliament for Plymouth. He was the father of George Byng, radical Member of Parliament for Middlesex. He was the father of George Byng, Father of the House of Commons, and John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford. The soldier Julian Hedworth George Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy, was the youngest son of the second Earl of Strafford.Admiral the Hon. John Byng, who was controversially court-martialled and shot in 1757, was the fourth son of the first Viscount Torrington. He was the only British admiral ever executed after a court-martial.The family seat is Great Hunts Place, near Winchester, Hampshire. The traditional burial place of the Viscounts Torrington is the Byng Vault at the Church of All Saints, Southill, Bedfordshire.Another notable member of the family was Captain Launcelot Alfred Cranmer-Byng (23 Nov. 1872 - 15 Jan. 1945) whose translations of Tang Dynasty poets provided the texts for most of 25 Songs from the Chinese Poets by Granville Bantock.

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