Thomas Hare’s Machinery of Representation


Following the general election on 30 April 1857, Conservative lawyer Sir Thomas Hare published Machinery of Representation later that year and editions of his Treatise on the Election of Representatives: Parliamentary and Municipal appeared between 1859 and 1873. In these works he laid out the basic system that would go to to become the Single Transferable Vote.

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Reform Act 1867


Royal Assent for the Second Great Reform Act, passed by the government of Conservative Prime Minister the Earl of Derby. The Representation of the People Act 1867, enfranchising part of the urban male working classes for the first time adding just short of a million voters — including many workingmen — and doubling the electorate, to almost two million in England and Wales.

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Representation of the People Act 1918


Conservative Home Secretary George Cave (later 1st Viscount Cave) led the Representation of the People Act 1918 through the House of Commons, enfranchising women for the first time. This act gained Royal Assent on 2nd February 1918.

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Life Peerages Act 1958


Harold Macmillan’s government gained royal assent for the Life Peerages Act 1958, providing for the appointment of merit-based life peerages and giving women the right to sit and vote in the House of Lords.

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Peerage Act 1963


A Conservative government gained Royal Assent for the Peerage Act 1963, enabling peers to disclaim their peerages (in order to stand for election to the House of Commons) and admitting female hereditary peers to the House of Lords.

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Representation of the People Act 1985


The Thatcher administration’s Representation of the People Act 1985 gains Royal Assent, extending the franchise to British citizens residing abroad.

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Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011


The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 gained Royal Assent to set the date of the next general election on the first Thursday in May in every fifth year, removing this power from the Prime Minister.

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