(click image to enlarge)
An amendment to the Parliament Act of 1911 was first raised in Parliament on 10 November 1947 by Herbert Morrison, the Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the House of Commons. The Parliament Act had removed the ability of the House of Lords to veto Bills. Instead, the Lords had the option to delay a Bill by up to two years. The amendment moved to reduce these delaying powers to just one year. The House of Lords regularly attempted to block discussion of the new Bill, before a speech by the King on 14 September 1948 summoned the House to give further consideration to the amendment.
Shortly before the House adjourned on 14 September, the Leader of the House of Lords, Viscount Addison, moved to resolve that the Lord Chancellor should have the ability to summon the House to reconvene earlier than previously agreed during adjournments if he deemed it to be in the public interest to do so, in order to transact important business. In Leslie Illingworth’s cartoon, this resolution is likened to being forced back to school for extra lessons, with Herbert Morrison, as architect of the Bill, playing the role of the Schoolmaster and a representation of the House of Lords, possibly Addison himself, as the naughty schoolboy to blame for the House being summoned back to work. The Labour cabinet are represented as the pupils rushing back to school. These are, from right to left, Secretary of State for War Manny Shinwell, Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Hugh Dalton, Minister of Labour George Isaacs and Minister of Food John Strachey. In the background stands Leader of the Opposition Winston Churchill.