Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Election 1831

If you think our parliamentary system is fairly corrupt and undemocratic now, you will be even more astonished if you look back to the election of 1831 - the last election before the Reform Act of 1832 was implemented.
Buckingham was entitled them to two members of parliament, and indeed was for many years after, but you will be surprised to learn that there were only 13, yes 13, eligible voters. Each of these voters were aldermen who were appointees of the Duke of Buckingham. The two members returned for Buckingham from this tiny electorate were both nominees of the Duke of Buckingham - General Sir George Nugent (his cousin) and Sir Thomas Freemantle.
One of the consequences of this parliamentary stitch-up was that Wolverton became a railway town. The Duke of Buckingham had enough parliamentary votes in his pocket to veto the originally planned line through Buckingham and Stephenson had to develop an alternative - hence the route through Wolverton.

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