Read transcripts of debates in both Houses
Produced by Commons Library, Lords Library and Parliamentary Office Science and Technology
Search for Members by name, postcode, constituency and party
Learn about their experience, knowledge and interests
Celebrating people who have made Parliament a positive, inclusive working environment
Four staff networks for people to discuss and consider issues.
Contact your MP or a Member of the House of Lords about an issue that matters to you
Sign up for the Your Parliament newsletter to find out how you can get involved
Take a tour of Parliament and enjoy a delicious afternoon tea by the River Thames
See some of the sights you’ll encounter on a tour of Parliament
Book a school visit, classroom workshop or teacher-training session
Access videos, worksheets, lesson plans and games
John Stuart Mill MP presented the first mass women’s suffrage petition to the House of Commons on 7 June 1866. The petition was brought to Parliament by Emily Davies and Elizabeth Garrett. The story was later told that to avoid attention on arrival in Westminster Hall, they concealed it under the stall of an apple seller, which is where Mill found it. The petition organisers recorded 1499 names, which were printed and circulated in a pamphlet. However as can be seen here, the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Petitions counted and logged 1521 signatures. Presumably the extra 22 were last minute additions.
Mill spoke on the petition on 17 July 1866. A year later, the petition led to the first debate on votes for women. On 20 May 1867 Mill tried to amend the Second Reform Bill to replace the word ‘man’ with ‘person’. He later described this as ‘perhaps the only really important public service I performed in the capacity as a Member of Parliament.’ The division was lost by 73 votes to 196, but Mill was delighted by the level of support, which came from both sides of the House.
Explore Parliament's collection of works of art
Find out more about the Parliamentary Archives