February 21, 2018

Women's vote: Rudd claims pardoning suffragettes is "complicated"

07 February 2018, 01:26 | Kara Nash

Women's vote: Rudd claims pardoning suffragettes is "complicated"

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The Home Secretary has said she will "look at" calls to pardon suffragettes who were treated as criminals during their fight for the right to vote. Rudd said she would "take a look at it" but described the process as "complicated" and "not straightforward".

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson supported the calls for suffragettes to receive a pardon: "Voting was a value judgment, not an intrinsic right".

Fawcett was a "Suffragiste", a campaigner for voting rights through non-violent action, her statue to be placed next to Winston Churchill. But since losing her Conservatives' majority in parliament in an ill-judged election in June, her leadership has been questioned. Their real enemies lay in the public figures they had to convince, people who today we view through rose-tinted spectacles.

"The Suffragists have become lost in the story and I think they need to be part of the story", she told journalists at the Foreign Press Association in London.

At least the suffragists and suffragettes were united in their ultimate goal. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian issues, conflicts, land and property rights, modern slavery and human trafficking, gender equality, climate change and resilience.

BBC Radio 4 listeners voted Suffragist Dame Millicent Fawcett as the "most influential" woman of the past 100 years, but Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst has been mentioned nearly 3,000 times on Twitter in the past 24 hours.

The 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which extended voting rights to all British men aged 21 and up, and to millions of women over 30. "She'd been Empress of the British Empire and most subjects hadn't kicked up a fuss about having an empress so why would they kick up a fuss about British women having a vote?" But the suffragists failed to get results, and many campaigners decided a more militant approach was required.

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Many went on to be jailed, including leader Emmeline Pankhurst.

Developer and social landlord Aster Group has announced its backing of a new campaign to marks the 100th anniversary of the first time women were granted the vote in the UK.

Today Home Secretary Amber Rudd told Good Morning Britain: 'They were perceived as criminals at the time, and it is hard to underestimate the bad violence that they suffered.

It seemed that not even all suffragettes could agree on their methods that they should use, however, with Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel having broken away from the group in 1907 to form the Women's Freedom League.

Backbencher Jess Phillips said she would be thinking of murdered MP Jo Cox on the centenary, and revealed she sang a pro-suffragette song with colleague Anna Turley as they walked "arm in arm" to her memorial.

She added that she would investigate the possibility: "Instinctively, I can see where that campaign is coming from".

Emily Wilding Davison was one such woman. Lady Constance Lytton proved that class and image still meant something in this movement; during one spell in prison she cut her hair short, made herself admittedly "uglier" and changed her name to Jane Warton.

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