Representation of the People Act 1884


Representation of the People Act 1884

In the United Kingdom, the Representation of the People Act of 1884 (48 & 49 Vict. c. 3, also known as the Third Reform Act) and the Redistribution Act of the following year were a response to the inequality in the electoral system left by Benjamin Disraeli's Reform Act 1867. Taken together, these measures extended the same voting qualifications as existed in the towns to the countryside, and essentially established the modern one member constituency as the normal pattern for Parliamentary representation.

The act extended the 1867 concessions from the boroughs to the countryside. All men paying an annual rental of £10 or all those holding land valued at £10 now had the vote. The British electorate now totalled over 5,500,000. An Act a year later redistributed constituencies, giving more representation to urban areas (especially London).

The 1884 Reform Act did not establish universal suffrage: although the size of the electorate was widened considerably, 40% of adult males were still without the vote at the time.

Key sections of the act

"Section 2": This extended a uniform household and lodger franchise, to all boroughs and counties in the United Kingdom.

"Section 3": Men inhabiting a dwelling-house as an employee, whose employer did not live there, were to be treated as if they were occupying as tenants for franchise purposes.

"Section 4": Prohibition of multiplicity of votes. This was not to stop people acquiring multiple votes in different constituencies (plural voting was still permitted), but to restrict sub-division of one property to qualify multiple voters (so called fagot voters).

"Section 5": A man who was a £10 occupier in a county or borough was to be a voter in that county or borough. This assimilated the previous county occupation franchise and borough occupation franchise into a uniform occupation franchise.

"Section 6": Occupation in a borough was not to confer a county franchise.

ee also

* The Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885-1918

References

* "The Statutes: Second Revised Edition, Vol. XVI 1884-1886", (printed by authority 1900)


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