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Dissolution of Parliament

The dissolution of Parliament took place on Thursday 30 May 2024. All business in the House of Commons and House of Lords has come to an end. There are currently no MPs and every seat in the Commons is vacant until after the general election on 4 July 2024.

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1800 Population Act

The late 18th century saw increasing discussion about the question of population and its effects on society. The economist Thomas Malthus took an extreme viewpoint, arguing that Britain had a falling populace and population growth itself would outstrip food supplies and lead to starvation and famine. The civil servant and statistician John Rickman, and politicians such as Charles Abbot and William Wilberforce, didn't agree with these fatalistic views. Rickman suggested the introduction of a population census which would provide the Government with information on societal patterns, and which would also be a useful aid to formulate military recruitment in the continuing war with France. Parliament passed the Population Act in December 1800, and the first United Kingdom census was conducted the following year, continuing the trend for acquiring accurate demographic information  that had developed in Europe and America in the previous century.


An Act for taking an Account of the Population of Great Britain, and of the Increase or Diminution thereof



Catalogue number

Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1800/41G3n28