This year sees two important anniversaries in the development of British democracy: 15 June marks 800 years since the Magna Carta was sealed, and on 20 January it will be 750 years since the founding of De Montfort Parliament, considered to be the birth of parliament as we understand it.
Among the events commemorating the anniversaries, the four remaining copies of the Magna Carta are being brought together for the first time in two exhibitions: the British Library on 2-4 February (we wrote about the ballot for tickets in October) and the House of Lords on 5 February.
The House of Lords will also host a month-long exhibition of landmark documents such as The Bill of Rights and the 1832 Great Reform Act.
Enormous banners representing key moments in British democratic and judicial history have been commissioned to be hung in the mediaeval Westminster Hall — the oldest building on the parliamentary estate — and will go on display from 20 January.
The BBC will feature a special day of broadcasts from inside Westminster and Broadcasting House as part of Democracy Day on 20 January. It is bringing together thinkers, writers and politicians for a day-long examination of democracy — with free tickets still available for many of the recordings.
Highlights include: BBC News live-streaming its morning planning meeting for the public to scrutinise; a look at the relationship between Islam and democracy; and Sir Tim Berners Lee will talk about open data and web censorship. Writers — including Michael ‘House of Cards’ Dobbs, James ‘This House’ Graham and Paula 'The Politician's Wife' Milne — will also discuss ways to dramatise democracy.
Democracy Day will be broadcast on BBC Radio on 20 January. The recordings take place at Broadcasting House (near Oxford Circus) and Westminster.