Documents to download

This paper gives a history of the Parliamentary franchise and shows the incremental stages which led to universal suffrage across the UK by drawing on several of the recognised sources which have dealt with the subject and by referring to the key legislation.

It gives a summary of eligibility to vote in Parliamentary elections before the reforms of the nineteenth century and then gives the main changes introduced by the Reform Acts of 1832, 1867/8 and 1884. The paper also gives details of the main changes of the Representation of the People Acts which created universal male suffrage, the first female suffrage and then universal adult suffrage.

The paper also briefly summarises the main reasons for disqualification from eligibility to vote and also briefly describes the extension of the Parliamentary franchise to 18 year olds in 1969 and to overseas voters in 1985.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • The Budget and the annual Finance Bill

    This paper discusses the way that Parliament scrutinises the Government's proposals for taxation, set out in the annual Budget statement. It looks at how this procedure may be affected by the timing of a General Election, and the decision in 2017 to move the Budget from the Spring to the Autumn. It also provides some suggestions for further reading.

    The Budget and the annual Finance Bill
  • Overseas voters

    British citizens living overseas are currently entitled to be registered to vote in UK Parliamentary elections for up to 15 years in the constituency they were registered in before leaving the UK. The Government has committed to end the 15-year limit and introduce 'votes for life'. This Briefing Paper provides details of the provisions relating to overseas voters in the Representation of the People Act 1985 and the proposals for change. It also summarises earlier attempts to change the 15 year rule.

    Overseas voters