What was the 1918 Representation of the People Act?
The Representation of the People Act 1918, which came into effect on 6th February that year, was a package of electoral reforms that extended the vote to 12.9 million men and, for the first time, 8.4 million women over the age of 30.
In addition to being over the age of 30, women also had to meet a property qualification. They had to be the head women of a household and occupy property to the value of £5 or more. This meant 22% of women over 30 could still not vote.
The bill for the Representation of the People Act was passed by a majority of 385 to 55 in the House of Commons on 19 June 1917, followed by a vote of 131 to 71 in the House of Lords.
Women were first able to exercise their vote, and after a swift change in the law also stand for election to Westminster, in the December 1918 general election.