There are three 'readings' of a Bill in its progress through each House. Readings were necessary due to the illiteracy of many politicians, the only way of informing Members about the contents of a Bill was for the Clerk to read it aloud from beginning to end.
Today the circulation of printed copies of Bills makes it unnecessary to read Bills at length, and since the end of the Eighteenth Century it has been the practice under a Westminster system for the Clerk to read only the title of a Bill to the House.
Yep, when electing members of the Parliament it was not a prerequisite to be literate.
Has anything really changed? I mean politiicans still call a DD a Double Disillusion?