Suffrage, political franchise, or franchise is the right to vote in public, political elections. In some languages, in English, the right to vote is called active suffrage, as distinct from passive suffrage, the right to stand for election; the combination of active and passive suffrage is sometimes called full suffrage. Suffrage is conceived in terms of elections for representatives. However, suffrage applies to referenda and initiatives. Suffrage describes not only the legal right to vote, but the practical question of whether a question will be put to a vote; the utility of suffrage is reduced when important questions are decided unilaterally without extensive, full disclosure and public review. In most democracies, eligible voters can vote in elections of representatives. Voting on issues by referendum may be available. For example, in Switzerland this is permitted at all levels of government. In the United States, some states such as California and Washington have exercised their shared sovereignty to offer citizens the opportunity to write and vote on referendums and initiatives.
Referendums in the United Kingdom are rare. Suffrage is granted to qualifying citizens. What constitutes a qualifying citizen depends on the government's decision. Resident non-citizens can vote in some countries, which may be restricted to citizens of linked countries or to certain offices or questions; the word suffrage comes from Latin suffragium, meaning "vote", "political support", the right to vote. The etymology of the Latin word is uncertain, with some sources citing Latin suffragari "lend support, vote for someone", from sub "under" + fragor "crash, shouts", related to frangere "to break". Other sources say; some etymologists think the word may be related to suffrago and may have meant an ankle bone or knuckle bone. Universal suffrage consists of the right to vote without restriction due to sex, social status, education level, or wealth, it does not extend the right to vote to all residents of a region. The short-lived Corsican Republic was the first country to grant limited universal suffrage to all citizens over the age of 25.
In 1819 60-80,000 men and women from 30 miles around Manchester assembled in the city's St. Peter's Square to protest their lack of any representation in the Houses of Parliament. Historian Robert Poole has called the Peterloo Massacre one of the defining moments of its age.. The film Peterloo featured; this was followed by other experiments in the Paris Commune of 1871 and the island republic of Franceville. The 1840 constitution of the Kingdom of Hawai'i granted universal suffrage to all male and female adults. In 1893, when the Kingdom of Hawai'i was overthrown in a coup, New Zealand became the only independent country to practice universal suffrage, the Freedom in the World index lists New Zealand as the only free country in the world in 1893. Women's suffrage is, by definition, the right of women to vote; this was the goal of the suffragists, who believed in using legal means and the suffragettes, who used extremist measures. Short-lived suffrage equity was drafted into provisions of the State of New Jersey's first, 1776 Constitution, which extended the Right to Vote to unwed female landholders & black land owners.
"IV. That all inhabitants of this Colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds proclamation money, clear estate in the same, have resided within the county in which they claim a vote for twelve months preceding the election, shall be entitled to vote for Representatives in Council and Assembly. New Jersey 1776 However, the document did not specify an Amendment procedure, the provision was subsequently replaced in 1844 by the adoption of the succeeding constitution, which reverted to "all white male" suffrage restrictions. Although the Kingdom of Hawai'i granted female suffrage in 1840, the right was rescinded in 1852. Limited voting rights were gained by some women in Sweden and some western U. S. states in the 1860s. In 1893, the British colony of New Zealand became the first self-governing nation to extend the right to vote to all adult women. In 1894 the women of South Australia achieved the right to both stand for Parliament; the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland in the Russian Empire was the first nation to allow all women to both vote and run for parliament.
Those against the women's suffrage movement made public organizations to put down the political movement, with the main argument being that a woman's place was in the home, not polls. Political cartoons and public outrage over women's rights increased as the opposition to suffrage worked day and night to organize legitimate groups campaigning against women's voting rights; the Massachusetts Association Opposed to the Further Extension of Suffrage to Women was one organization that came out of the 1880's to put down the voting efforts. Many anti-suffrage propaganda poked fun at the idea of women in politics. Political cartoons displayed the most sentiment by portraying the issue of women's suffrage to be swapped with men's lives; some mocked the popular suf
United Kingdom general elections overview
The United Kingdom general elections overview is an overview of United Kingdom general election results since 1922. The 1922 election was the first election in the new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, after the creation of the Irish Free State removed Southern Ireland from the UK; the last thirty years saw just five prime ministers, with Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair the two longest serving post-World War II prime ministers in the UK. There was a mini-revival of the Liberal Party which, after a merger with the Social Democratic Party became the Liberal Democrats and increased their seats in parliament from 11 in the 1979 election to 62 in 2005; the outcome of the 2010 election brought about the first hung parliament since 1974 and forced the victorious Conservative Party to accept the Liberal Democrats as their coalition partner. Voter turnout fell during this period, with the 2001 election seeing a post-World War II low of 59.4%. In Northern Ireland, the Good Friday Agreement has led to a vast reduction in conflict, though the moderate parties who gained power in the 1980s, such as the Ulster Unionist Party, have been replaced as the dominant powers by the likes of Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionist Party.
The elections of the 1990s and 2000s saw an increased proliferation of smaller parties, with more parties standing at the 2005 general election than before. The elections of this period took place in the context of the decolonialisation of the British Empire and the UK's declining status as a Great Power, it saw the UK enter the European Union and some periods of high unemployment. The early years of the period saw Conservative consolidation of power, before Harold Wilson's two general election wins in 1964 and 1966. There was a series of close fought elections, including two in 1974; this period was the one in which the Liberal Party was at its all-time low, never having more than 14 seats. The Ulster Unionists dominated in Northern Ireland, whilst the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru became major players for the first time, the SNP gaining 11 seats in 1974; this period saw the demise of the autonomous Scottish Unionist Party, when it merged with the Conservative Party. This era saw massive social change in the UK, going through the Great Depression of the 1930s, the national government of the Second World War and the socialist Labour government of Clement Attlee.
The Labour party gained a landslide victory in 1945, contrasting with the pre-war dominance of the Conservative Party. This was the period of the Liberal Party's major collapse, with their split into the Liberal and National Liberal parties and the completion of Labour's rise to power. 1929 saw the first Scottish and Welsh nationalist candidates. In the years after the secession of the Irish Free State, the Conservatives led the House of Commons, followed by a surging Labour Party and a declining Liberal Party; the Communist Party of Great Britain enjoyed their most prolonged period of success, though still failed to have more than 1 MP at any time. Elections in the United Kingdom List of United Kingdom general elections
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister directs both the executive and the legislature, together with their Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Monarch, to Parliament, to their political party and to the electorate; the office of Prime Minister is one of the Great Offices of State. The current holder of the office, Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, was appointed by the Queen on 13 July 2016; the office is not established by any statute or constitutional document but exists only by long-established convention, which stipulates that the monarch must appoint as Prime Minister the person most to command the confidence of the House of Commons. The position of Prime Minister was not created; the office is therefore best understood from a historical perspective. The origins of the position are found in constitutional changes that occurred during the Revolutionary Settlement and the resulting shift of political power from the Sovereign to Parliament.
Although the Sovereign was not stripped of the ancient prerogative powers and remained the head of government, politically it became necessary for him or her to govern through a Prime Minister who could command a majority in Parliament. By the 1830s the Westminster system of government had emerged; the political position of Prime Minister was enhanced by the development of modern political parties, the introduction of mass communication, photography. By the start of the 20th century the modern premiership had emerged. Prior to 1902, the Prime Minister sometimes came from the House of Lords, provided that his government could form a majority in the Commons; however as the power of the aristocracy waned during the 19th century the convention developed that the Prime Minister should always sit in the lower house. As leader of the House of Commons, the Prime Minister's authority was further enhanced by the Parliament Act 1911 which marginalised the influence of the House of Lords in the law-making process.
The Prime Minister is ex officio First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. Certain privileges, such as residency of 10 Downing Street, are accorded to Prime Ministers by virtue of their position as First Lord of the Treasury; the status of the position as Prime Minister means that the incumbent is ranked as one of the most powerful and influential people in the world. The Prime Minister is the head of the United Kingdom government; as such, the modern Prime Minister leads the Cabinet. In addition, the Prime Minister leads a major political party and commands a majority in the House of Commons; the incumbent wields both significant legislative and executive powers. Under the British system, there is a unity of powers rather than separation. In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister guides the law-making process with the goal of enacting the legislative agenda of their political party. In an executive capacity, the Prime Minister appoints all other Cabinet members and ministers, co-ordinates the policies and activities of all government departments, the staff of the Civil Service.
The Prime Minister acts as the public "face" and "voice" of Her Majesty's Government, both at home and abroad. Upon the advice of the Prime Minister, the Sovereign exercises many statutory and prerogative powers, including high judicial, political and Church of England ecclesiastical appointments; the British system of government is based on an uncodified constitution, meaning that it is not set out in any single document. The British constitution consists of many documents and most for the evolution of the Office of the Prime Minister, it is based on customs known as constitutional conventions that became accepted practice. In 1928, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith described this characteristic of the British constitution in his memoirs:In this country we live... under an unwritten Constitution. It is true that we have on the Statute-book great instruments like Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Bill of Rights which define and secure many of our rights and privileges, they rest on usage, convention of slow growth in their early stages, not always uniform, but which in the course of time received universal observance and respect.
The relationships between the Prime Minister and the Sovereign and Cabinet are defined by these unwritten conventions of the constitution. Many of the Prime Minister's executive and legislative powers are royal prerogatives which are still formally vested in the Sovereign, who remains the head of state. Despite its growing
Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
Edward George Geoffrey Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, was a British statesman, three-time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and, to date, the longest-serving leader of the Conservative Party. He was known before 1834 as Edward Stanley, from 1834 to 1851 as Lord Stanley, he is one of only four British prime ministers. However, his ministries each totalled three years and 280 days. Historian Frances Walsh says it was,Derby who educated the party and acted as its strategist to pass the last great Whig measure, the 1867 Reform Act, it was his greatest achievement to create the modern Conservative Party in the framework of the Whig constitution, though it was Disraeli who laid claim to it. Stanley was born to Lord Stanley and his wife, Charlotte Margaret, the daughter of the Reverend Geoffrey Hornby; the Stanleys were a long-established and wealthy landowning family whose principal residence was Knowsley Hall in Lancashire. Stanley was educated at Christ Church, Oxford. In 1822 Edward Stanley, as he was was elected to Parliament in the rotten borough of Stockbridge as a Whig, the traditional party of his family.
In 1824, however, he alienated his Whig colleagues by voting against Joseph Hume's motion for an investigation into the established Protestant Church of Ireland. When the Whigs returned to power in 1830, Stanley became Chief Secretary for Ireland in Lord Grey's Government, entered the Cabinet in 1831; as Chief Secretary Stanley pursued a series of coercive measures which brought him into conflict with the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Anglesey. In October 1831, Stanley wrote a letter, the Stanley Letter, to the Duke of Leinster establishing the system of National Education in Ireland—this letter remains today the legal basis for the predominant form of primary education in Ireland. In 1833, Stanley moved up to the more important position of Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, overseeing the passage of the Abolition of Slavery Bill. Stanley, a conservative Whig, broke with the ministry over the reform of the Church of Ireland in 1834 and resigned from the government, he formed a group called the "Derby Dilly" and attempted to chart a middle course between what they saw as the radical Whiggery of Lord John Russell and the conservatism of the Tories.
Tory leader Sir Robert Peel's turn to the centre with the 1834 Tamworth Manifesto, published three days before Stanley's "Knowsley Creed" speech, robbed the Stanleyites of much of the uniqueness of their programme. The term "Derby Dilly" was coined by Irish Nationalist leader Daniel O'Connell. Besides Stanley, the other principal members of the Dilly were Sir James Graham, who had resigned as First Lord of the Admiralty; these four ministers had all come from notably different political backgrounds—Stanley and Graham were old Whigs, Ripon was a former Canningite Tory prime minister, while Richmond was an arch-conservative Tory who had incongruously found himself in the Grey cabinet. Although they did not participate in Peel's short-lived 1835 ministry, over the next several years they merged into Peel's Conservative Party, with several members of the "Derby Dilly" taking prominent positions in Peel's second ministry. Joining the Conservatives, Stanley again served as Colonial Secretary in Peel's second government in 1841.
In 1844 he was summoned to the House of Lords as Lord Stanley of Bickerstaffe in his father's Barony of Stanley by Writ of Acceleration. He broke with the Prime Minister again in 1845, this time over the repeal of the Corn Laws, managed to bring the majority of the Conservative Party with him, he thereafter led the protectionist faction of the Conservative Party. In the House of Lords, on 23 November 1847, he accused the Irish Catholic clergy of using the confessional to encourage lawlessness and crime; this was disputed in a series of letters by the coadjutor Bishop of Edward Maginn. In 1851 he succeeded his father as Earl of Derby; the party system was in a state of flux when the Conservatives left office in 1846, the outstanding issues being the question of Ireland and the unresolved franchise. The protectionists had a core of leaders, but in opposition, the party was still in-fighting. Derby formed a minority government in February 1852 following the collapse of Lord John Russell's Whig Government.
In this new ministry, Benjamin Disraeli was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. With many senior Conservative ministers having followed Peel, Derby was forced to appoint many new men to office—of the Cabinet, only three were pre-existing Privy Counsellors; when the aged Duke of Wellington, by very deaf, heard the list of inexperienced cabinet ministers being read aloud in the House of Lords, he gave the government its nickname by shouting "Who? Who?". From this government would be known as the "Who? Who?" ministry. Traditionally Derby's ministries were thought in hindsight to have been dominated by Disraeli. However, recent research suggests that this was not always the case in the government's conduct of foreign policy. There and his Foreign Secretaries, Lord Malmesbury and his son Lord Stanley, pursued a course of action, aimed at building up power through financial strength, seeking to avoid wars at all costs, co-operating with other powers, working through the Concert of Europe to resolve diplomatic problems.
This contrasted with the policy of m
Reform Act 1832
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales. According to its preamble, the Act was designed to "take effectual Measures for correcting divers Abuses that have long prevailed in the Choice of Members to serve in the Commons House of Parliament". Before the reform, most members nominally represented boroughs; the number of electors in a borough varied from a dozen or so up to 12,000. The selection of MPs was controlled by one powerful patron: for example Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk, controlled eleven boroughs. Criteria for qualification for the franchise varied among boroughs, from the requirement to own land, to living in a house with a hearth sufficient to boil a pot. There had been calls for reform long without success; the Act that succeeded was proposed by the Whigs, led by Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey. It met with significant opposition from the Pittite factions in Parliament, who had long governed the country.
The bill was passed as a result of public pressure. The Act granted seats in the House of Commons to large cities that had sprung up during the Industrial Revolution, removed seats from the "rotten boroughs": those with small electorates and dominated by a wealthy patron; the Act increased the electorate from about 400,000 to 650,000, making about one in five adult males eligible to vote. The full title is An Act to amend the representation of the people in Wales, its formal short title and citation is "Representation of the People Act 1832". The Act applied only in Wales; the separate Scottish Reform Act 1832 was revolutionary, enlarging the electorate by a factor of 1300% from 5000 to 65,000. After the Acts of Union 1800 became law on 1 January 1801, the unreformed House of Commons was composed of 658 members, of whom 513 represented England and Wales. There were two types of constituencies. County members were supposed to represent landholders, while borough members were supposed to represent the mercantile and trading interests of the kingdom.
Counties were historical national subdivisions established between the 16th centuries. They were not parliamentary constituencies; the members of Parliament chosen by the counties were known as Knights of the Shire. In Wales each county elected one member, while in England each county elected two members until 1826, when Yorkshire's representation was increased to four, following the disenfranchisement of the Cornish borough of Grampound. Parliamentary boroughs in England ranged in size from small hamlets to large cities because they had evolved haphazardly; the earliest boroughs were chosen in the Middle Ages by county sheriffs, a village might be deemed a borough. Many of these early boroughs were substantial settlements at the time of their original enfranchisement, but went into decline, by the early 19th century some only had a few electors, but still elected two MPs. In centuries the reigning monarch decided which settlements to enfranchise; the monarchs seem to have done so capriciously with little regard for the merits of the place they were enfranchising.
Of the 70 English boroughs that Tudor monarchs enfranchised, 31 were disenfranchised. The parliamentarians of the 17th century compounded the inconsistencies by re-enfranchising 15 boroughs whose representation had lapsed for centuries, seven of which were disenfranchised by the Reform Act. After Newark was enfranchised in 1661, no additional boroughs were enfranchised, the unfair system remained unchanged until the Reform Act of 1832. Grampound's disenfranchisement in 1821 was the sole exception. Most English boroughs elected two MPs; the City of London and the joint borough of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis each elected four members. The Welsh boroughs each returned a single member. Statutes passed in 1430 and 1432, during the reign of Henry VI, standardised property qualifications for county voters. Under these Acts, all owners of freehold property or land worth at least forty shillings in a particular county were entitled to vote in that county; this requirement, known as the forty shilling freehold, was never adjusted for inflation.
The franchise was restricted to males by custom rather than statute. The vast majority of people were not entitled to vote. Furthermore, the sizes of the individual county constituencies varied significantly; the smallest counties and Anglesey, had fewer than 1,000 voters each, while the largest county, had more than 20,000. Those who owned property in multiple constituencies could vote multiple times. In boroughs the franchise was far more varied. There were broadly six types of parliamenta
Elections in the United Kingdom
There are six types of elections in the United Kingdom: elections to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, elections to devolved parliaments and assemblies, elections to the European Parliament, local elections, mayoral elections and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. Within each of those categories, there may be by-elections as well as general elections. Elections are held on Election Day, conventionally a Thursday. Since the passing of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 for general elections, all six types of elections are held after fixed periods, though early elections to parliament and the devolved assemblies and parliaments can occur in certain situations. Six electoral systems are used: the single member plurality system, the multi member plurality system, party-list proportional representation, the single transferable vote, the additional member system and the supplementary vote. Elections are administered locally: in each lower-tier local authority, the polling procedure is operated by the acting returning officer or returning officer, the compiling and maintenance of the electoral roll by the electoral registration officer.
The Electoral Commission sets standards for and issues guidelines to returning officers and electoral registration officers, is responsible for nationwide electoral administration. The total number of names in the United Kingdom appearing in Electoral Registers published on 1 December 2010 and based on a qualifying date of 15 October 2010 was 45,844,691. In England and Wales, anyone who will be aged 18 or over on polling day and, a national of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, a Commonwealth country or a European Union Member State, can apply to the electoral registration officer in the local authority area where they reside with a'considerable degree of permanence' to be listed in that area's Electoral Register. In Scotland, those fulfilling the nationality requirements who will be aged 16 or over on polling day can register to vote, as the age for voting in Scottish Parliament and local elections is 16. However, voters in Scotland under 18 are not entitled to vote in European Parliament and UK general elections.
A person can still register at their ordinary address. A person who has two homes may be able to register to vote at both addresses as long as they are not in the same electoral area. In addition, to qualify to appear on the Electoral Register, applicants who are Commonwealth citizens must either possess leave to enter or remain in the UK or not require such leave on the date of their application and no applicant may be a convicted person detained in prison or a mental hospital or a person found guilty of certain corrupt or illegal practices. In Northern Ireland, a further criterion has to be fulfilled to qualify for registration: it is possible for a person to apply to be listed on the Electoral Register only if they have been resident in Northern Ireland for at least three months prior to the date of application. Remand prisoners, voluntary patients in mental hospitals and people without a fixed place of residence can register to vote by making a declaration of local connection. Members of HM Forces and their immediate family members have the option of registering as a service voter, by making a service declaration based on their last UK address.
British citizens residing outside the United Kingdom can register as an overseas voter provided that they were on the Electoral Register in the UK within the previous 15 years. The 15-year period begins when they no longer appeared in the electoral register, not the date they moved abroad. British citizens who moved abroad before they turned 18 years old can still qualify for registration, with the 15-years period calculated from the date their parent/guardian ceased to appear in the Electoral Register. Overseas voters can only vote in European Parliament and UK Parliamentary elections in the constituency of their last registered UK address. British citizens who are away overseas temporarily do not need to register as overseas electors and can register to vote in the usual way at their UK address. Crown servants and British Council employees employed in a post outside the UK can register by making a Crown Servant declaration, allowing them to vote in all UK elections. An individual can register as an anonymous elector if his/her safety would be at risk were his/her name and address to be disclosed publicly on the Electoral Register, but the application needs to be supported by a relevant court order, injunction or an attestation by a chief police officer or a Director of Social Services.
The right of Commonwealth and Irish citizens to vote is a legacy of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which limited the vote to British subjects. At that time, "British subjects" included the people of Ireland — part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland — and
Rotten and pocket boroughs
A rotten or pocket borough known as a nomination borough or proprietorial borough, was a parliamentary borough or constituency in England, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom before the Reform Act 1832, which had a small electorate and could be used by a patron to gain unrepresentative influence within the unreformed House of Commons. The same terms were used for similar boroughs represented in the 18th-century Parliament of Ireland. A parliamentary borough was a town or former town, incorporated under a royal charter, giving it the right to send two elected burgesses as Members of Parliament to the House of Commons, it was not unusual for the physical boundary of the settlement to change as the town developed or contracted over time, for example due to changes in its trade and industry, so that the boundaries of the parliamentary borough and of the physical settlement were no longer the same. For centuries, constituencies electing members to the House of Commons did not change to reflect population shifts, in some places the number of electors became so few that they could be bribed or otherwise influenced by a single wealthy patron.
In the early 19th century, reformists scornfully called these boroughs "rotten boroughs" or "pocket boroughs", or more formally "nomination boroughs", because their democratic processes were rotten and their MP were elected by the whim of the patron, thus "in his pocket". As voting was by show of hands at a single polling station at a single time, none dared to vote contrary to the instructions of the patron. Only one candidate would be nominated, so that the election was uncontested, thus an MP might represent only a few constituents, while at the same time many new towns, which had grown due to increased trade and industry, were unrepresented, or inadequately represented. For example, before 1832 the town of Manchester, which expanded during the Industrial Revolution from a small settlement into a large city, was part of the larger county constituency of Lancashire and did not elect its own MPs. Many of these ancient boroughs elected two MPs. By the time of the 1831 general election, out of 406 elected members, 152 were chosen by fewer than 100 voters each, 88 by fewer than fifty voters.
By the early 19th century moves were made towards reform, with eventual success when the Reform Act 1832 disenfranchised the rotten boroughs and redistributed representation in Parliament to new major population centres. The Ballot Act 1872 introduced the secret ballot, which hindered patrons from controlling elections by preventing them from knowing how an elector had voted. At the same time, the practice of paying or entertaining voters was outlawed, election expenses fell dramatically; the term rotten borough came into use in the 18th century. The word "rotten" had the connotation of corruption as well as long-term decline. In such boroughs most or all of the few electors could not vote as they pleased, due to the lack of a secret ballot and their dependency on the "owner" of the borough. Only were the views or personal character of a candidate taken into consideration, except by the minority of voters who were not beholden to a particular interest. Rotten boroughs had gained their representation in Parliament when they were more flourishing centres, but the borough's boundaries had never been updated, or else they had become depopulated or deserted over the centuries.
Some had once been important places or had played a major role in England's history, but had fallen into insignificance as for example industry moved away. For example, in the 12th century Old Sarum had been a busy cathedral city, reliant on the wealth expended by its own Sarum Cathedral within its city precincts, but it was abandoned when the present Salisbury Cathedral was built on a new site nearby, which attracted merchants and workers who built up a new town around it. Despite this dramatic loss of population, the borough of Old Sarum retained its right to elect two MPs. Many such rotten boroughs were controlled by landowners and peers who might give the seats in Parliament to their like-minded friends or relations, or who went to Parliament themselves, if they were not members of the House of Lords, they sold them for money or other favours. This patronage was based on property rights which could be inherited and passed on to heirs, or else sold, like any other form of property. Before being awarded a peerage, Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington, served in the Irish House of Commons as a Member for the rotten borough of Trim.
Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh served as a Member for the rotten borough of Plympton Erle. Pocket boroughs were boroughs which could be controlled by a single person who owned at least half of the "burgage tenements", the occupants of which had the right to vote in the borough's parliamentary elections. A wealthy patron therefore had to buy up these specially qualified houses and install in them his own tenants, selected for their willingness to do their landlord's bidding, or given such precarious forms of tenure that they dared not displease him; as there was no secret ballot until 1872, the landowner could evict electors who did not vote for the man he wanted. A common expression