chapter  7
20 Pages

Preservation and Progress: Representing the People c.1745–c.1845

In 1948, under the Representation of the People Act, all plural voting and the university seats were abolished. Henceforth, with only insignificant ex­ ceptions, each man and woman in the United Kingdom over the age of twenty-one was entitled to cast one vote in elections to determine the com­ position of the House of Commons. In the space of 200 years, the British polity moved from ‘oligarchy’ to ‘democracy,. The fact that it was a Labour government which introduced the above measure seemed to confirm that at length ‘the people’ had triumphed. The long struggle for the franchise had come to an end.