‘Manifest injustice and glaring violation of all truth’: Disputing controverted elections in the 18th-century Parliament

In the latest blog for the Georgian Lords, Dr Charles Littleton considers the way in which 18th-century elections were frequently decided on the results of petitions in Parliament, after the initial returns were challenged. The weeks before this year’s election in the USA have been marked with commentary considering the potential for voter fraud, disenfranchisement, and the role of the courts. Although on a much … Continue reading ‘Manifest injustice and glaring violation of all truth’: Disputing controverted elections in the 18th-century Parliament

A revolting pocket borough: Morpeth in the late eighteenth century

In our latest Georgian Lords blog, in keeping with our general focus for the month on the county of Northumberland, Dr Charles Littleton considers the case of the pocket borough of Morpeth and its uneasy relations with the earls of Carlisle. The Northumbrian borough of Morpeth had returned representatives to Parliament since 1553. From 1601 the Howards of Naworth were lords of the manor, and … Continue reading A revolting pocket borough: Morpeth in the late eighteenth century

The will of the people? The Middlesex elections of 1769

250 years ago, in April 1769, the electors of Middlesex went to the polls: the third by-election they had experienced that year since one of their two MPs, John Wilkes, had been expelled from Parliament. Dr Robin Eagles, Editor of the House of Lords 1660-1832 Section, examines the background to the election and how Parliament resolved the crisis. John Wilkes had originally been returned as … Continue reading The will of the people? The Middlesex elections of 1769

Tackling electoral corruption: how Victorian Britain reformed the trial of election petitions in 1868

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the passing of the Election Petitions and Corrupt Practices at Elections Act, an important part of the electoral reforms which had begun with the Second Reform Act of 1867. Dr. Kathryn Rix of our Victorian Commons project explains why and how Benjamin Disraeli’s ministry aimed to tackle the problem of bribery and corruption at mid-Victorian elections. On 31 July 1868 … Continue reading Tackling electoral corruption: how Victorian Britain reformed the trial of election petitions in 1868