Key dates

1535
Legislation provides for Welsh representatives in the House of Commons

1707
Acts of Union passed in the Parliaments of England and Scotland unite the two countries. Scotland allocated 45 seats in the House of Commons

1729
Bribery Act passed to address corruption in elections

1801
Act of Union joins Ireland and Great Britain. Ireland allocated 100 seats in the House of Commons

1832
Representation of the People Act (the first Reform Act) extends vote to men meeting property qualification, reduces rotten boroughs and redistributes Parliamentary seats to better represent urban areas

1838
The People's Charter drawn up for the London Working Men's Association 1839 - First Chartist petition presented to House of Commons

1842
Second Chartist petition presented to House of Commons

1848
Third Chartist petition presented to House of Commons

1867
Representation of the People Act (the second Reform Act) extends vote to urban working men meeting property qualification

1872
Ballot Act introduces the secret ballot at elections

1883
Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act 1883 effectively ends serious corruption in British elections

1884
Representation of the People Act (the third Reform Act) addresses imbalance between men's votes in boroughs and counties

1885
Redistribution Act boundaries redrawn to produce equal electoral districts. Single member seats become the norm

1918
Representation of the People Act extends vote to all men over 21 and most women over 30

1920
Government of Ireland Act 1920 and the Irish Free State Agreement Act 1922 creates the Irish Free State and reduces the number of seats for Irish constituencies at Westminster from 105 to 13 constituencies in Northern Ireland.

1928
Representation of the People Act extends vote to all women over 21

1944
House of Commons (Redistribution of Seats) Act established four permanent boundary commissions for the UK and a regular system for reviewing constituency boundaries.

1969
Representation of the People Act extends vote to men and women over 18

2008
Voting Age (Reduction) Bill - a Private Members' Bill - to reduce voting age to 16 and over. Bill does not become law.

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