January 2015 marks 50 years since the death of Sir Winston Churchill (1874–1965). Though best known today as Britain’s great wartime leader, Churchill led a long and eventful life during which Parliament played a central role.
Churchill described himself as ‘a child of the House of Commons’. Born in the same year that saw his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, first elected as an MP, he was exposed to parliamentary life from an early age.
Beginning in 1900, Churchill’s own Commons career spanned 64 years, the longest in the 20th century. During this time he sat for two parties, represented five constituencies and contested twenty-one elections. In government, he held numerous ministerial positions and served as Prime Minister twice.
Following his death at the age of 90, Churchill received the rare honour of lying-in-state in Westminster Hall. Though this marked the end of his lifelong relationship with Parliament, Churchill’s impact continues to be felt here in a number of ways today.