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Corrupt Practices Act

Corrupt Practices Act, 1883. Electoral corruption continued to flourish after the Reform Act of 1832 and was not eradicated either by the Corrupt Practices Act of 1854, or by secret ballot in 1872. The general election of 1880 produced a number of cases of flagrant treating or bribery. The 1883 Act (46 & 47 Vic. c. 51) strengthened the previous Act, which had called for the publication of candidates' expenses, by laying down the limits of electoral expenditure. Corruption was not eliminated but the growing size of the electorate and the disfranchisement of many small boroughs reduced it. Even so, a royal commission reported that at Worcester in 1906 there were 500 voters, ‘mainly of the needy and loafing class’, who were ‘prepared to sell their votes for drink or money’.

J. A. Cannon

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