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The Representation of the People Act 1918

The Representation of the People Bill introduced in May 1917 embodied the Conference's resolutions. The Act gave the vote to all men aged 21 years or older and to men on military or naval service from the age of 19. Women aged 30 or older who qualified for the local government franchise, or whose husbands did, were given the vote – approximately 8.4 million women. The Speaker later explained, ‘It was thought desirable that women and men should be somewhere about on a parity and we took the age of thirty which was the nearest we could get to make the number of women voters equal to the number of men.'  

There was still significant opposition to votes for women, including from Conference members Sir Frederick Banbury and Lord Finlay. However many former opponents, including Asquith and Walter Long, announced their support. The Act received Royal Assent on 6 February 1918.


Representation of the People Act



Catalogue number

Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PU/1/1918/7&8G5c64