26 July 2009

Fascinating fact for the day

From the Economist review of Democracy: 1,000 Years in Pursuit of British Liberty. By Peter Kellner:

In the course of it the reader is reminded that as the “Mother of Parliaments” Britain was far from first in the field (Iceland’s Althing met much earlier), and that habeas corpus, that cornerstone of British liberty, passed on to the statute book in 1679 through a deliberate miscount in the House of Lords, Mr Kellner has explained. Lord Norris, the teller for the bill’s supporters, counted the “inordinately fat” Lord Grey as ten votes rather than one.


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