Having established the extent of popular participation in local administration and law enforcement, we now turn to the influence of central government on the localities. The framework within which county and parish officials operated was laid down by parliamentary statutes. Few of these had been passed as ‘government’ measures. Whereas now most legislation in the British Parliament is promoted by the government and pushed through by the party whips, using weight of numbers, the Tudors and Stuarts rarely had any measures that they wished to pass, other than money bills. The initiative for most legislation came from ordinary MPs, promoting local interests, but often local’ problems were sufficiently widespread to produce ‘national’ measures (such as the Poor Laws of 1598 and 1601) which drew on local experience of tackling practical problems and of trying to enforce earlier Acts. In the absence of anything resembling modern political parties, there was no simple way of pushing bills through: indeed, there was a preference for avoiding votes and for the Houses to debate their way to a consensus, before presenting the bill to the king for his assent.