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Definition: Hansard from A Glossary of UK Government and Politics

The traditional name for the official record of the proceedings of the House of Commons and House of Lords, named after Luke Hansard who first published reports in the early nineteenth century. Parliament took over responsibility for publication in 1909, since when it has been a fully comprehensive – but not verbatim – account of every speech. The term Hansard exists in other countries with a British connection, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa among them, to describe the printed transcripts of parliamentary debates.


Summary Article: Hansard from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(hăn'sərd), name given to the official record of the proceedings of the British Parliament, named after the Hansard family of printers. Luke Hansard (1752–1828) was printer to the House of Commons and published Journals of the House of Commons (1774–1828) based on information from other printed sources. William Cobbett began (1804) a series of unofficial reports of the debates that was printed by Luke's son, Thomas Curson Hansard (1776–1833), who took over the enterprise in 1812. The reports were published by the family firm until 1890 and by different contractors until 1909, when the House of Commons instituted a series of official reports. The House of Lords followed suit in 1917, and substantially verbatim daily reports became available. Published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, the reports are still generally referred to as Hansard, and the name appears on the title page.

  • See Trewin, J. C.;King, E. M., Printer to the House (1952).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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