GREAT BRITAIN: Making Room at the Top

For reasons uniquely British. Budget Day is the House of Commons' most festively expectant annual occasion, signaling the power of the purse, which raised the House to supreme authority in Britain. Some M.P.s arrived soon after dawn, hours before the Chancellor of the Exchequer was due to show up carrying the battered dispatch case used by Gladstone and by every Chancellor since. A few Tory traditionalists wore black silk toppers. Sir Winston Churchill, who attended his first Budget Day in 1901, beamed from his bench below the gangway, sporting a huge red geranium...

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