Britain to consider pardoning suffragettes

Britain to consider pardoning suffragettes
By Katy Dartford
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The move coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which extended voting rights to millions of women over 30.


A century to the day since some female voters were allowed to go to the polls, Britain has said it will consider pardons for the suffragettes convicted during the struggle for women's right to vote.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she would "take a look at" the cases of women who were prosecuted during the pro-suffrage campaign more than 100 years ago.

January 6 2018 marks 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.

British women did not get the same voting rights as men until 1928.

Suffragettes used public protests, civil disobedience and occasionally violence in their campaign for women's votes. 

More than 1,000 were arrested and many imprisoned during the campaign.

In a speech to mark the centenary, British Prime Minister, Theresa May hailed "the enormous strides society has taken"

"In 2018 the United Kingdom's most senior judge is a woman. The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is a woman. The director of the National Crime Agency is a woman. Women serve as England's chief fire officer and chief medical officer. The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) and the TUC (Trade Union Congress) are both headed by women," said Mrs May.

"At Holyrood a female First Minister debates against a female opposition leader. In the National Assembly for Wales a woman leads the third party; the two largest parties in Northern Ireland led by women."

"And at Westminster where Suffragettes chained themselves to statues and hid in a broom cupboard on census night, the leaders of the House of Commons and the House of Lords are women."

The Prime Minister also used the anniversary to call for more civility in politics, saying some women are deterred from the profession because of the abuse they face.

May said the government was considering introducing a new offense of intimidation of parliamentary candidates and campaigners.

"We will take action to make our electoral process more robust and offer greater protections for people taking part in elections," she said.

"While intimidation is already a crime, we will consult on making it an offence in electoral law to intimidate candidates and campaigners."

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