Nation celebrates 90 years of equal voting rights

02 July 2018

On this day 90 years ago, the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act was passed, granting voting rights to both men and women on equal terms.

The following month, the then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin wrote to the leader of the constitutional suffrage campaign Millicent Garrett Fawcett, who by then had seen over 60 years pass since the first legislative attempts were made to open the franchise to women.

Baldwin wrote in a letter now held by the Women's Library at LSE that he never doubted the Bill would be passed in the ‘simple and complete form it ultimately assumed’ and finished by stating the new law would be “for the good of our beloved country”.

In a fitting tribute to the legacy of those early campaigners, thousands of suffrage themed events have now taken place right across the UK as part of the UK Parliament’s EqualiTeas engagement campaign.

Scouts, Guides, local WI groups, parliamentarians, charities and book clubs are amongst those that have hosted events, over 3000 of which have taken across each nation and every political constituency of the UK.

Penny Young, Managing Director of Participation at the UK Parliament, said:

“2018 has seen people of all ages and backgrounds come together to celebrate the legacy of the suffrage movement and to discuss what equality means to them today.

I hope those taking part in EqualiTeas are inspired to take further steps to make their voice heard in our democracy and engage with the work of the UK Parliament, whether it be contacting MPs, attending debates or visiting our Voice and Vote Exhibition, which gives a moving and unique insight into women’s story in Parliament.”

Further information
• As part of Vote 100, Westminster Hall, the oldest part of Parliament, will host a major free public exhibition “Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament” this summer.  The story of women and parliament will be told through immersive and interactive technologies to help recreate lost historic spaces that were used by women in the Palace of Westminster. It will include key historic objects from Parliamentary collections and significant loans from around the UK. Book on our website.
• Further information about EqualiTeas can be found on our website. This includes a list of public events and full list of partners.


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