Conservative Suffragists: The Women's Vote and the Tory by Mitzi Auchterlonie

By Mitzi Auchterlonie

The most major gaps in our wisdom of recent British heritage is how the Conservative get together handled the arguable factor of the women's suffrage circulate. whereas such a lot suffrage stories specialise in the actions of Liberal and Labour suffragettes within the struggle for the parliamentary vote, the position of Conservative ladies within the suffrage flow is never thought of in any element and the angle of the celebration in the direction of their actions is usually regarded as of little curiosity. during this vital reassessment of Conservative women's suffrage, Mitzi Auchterlonie examines new proof allowing readers to appreciate the social, political, fiscal and imperial concerns which so much involved Conservative suffragists. She finds how Tory ladies performed a huge but frequently invisible and under-researched half within the suffrage campaigns, whereas the Conservative get together itself contained an without notice various variety of perspectives in the direction of the belief of votes for girls.

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Extra resources for Conservative Suffragists: The Women's Vote and the Tory Party (International Library of Political Studies)

Sample text

Despite being well-known as an eloquent and articulate speaker on the political platform, Lady Jersey was always careful to reassure the men that women were only taking a public role to ‘assist in placing men in the Government’, and that they were not ‘in the least desirous of trenching on any department which does not belong to us; we don’t wish to govern the country…’ 52 Edith Milner, sister of the prominent Conservative Sir Frederick Milner and the Ruling Councillor of the Milner Habitation in York, spoke consistently against women’s suffrage at meetings all over the country, and went on to form a branch of the Anti-Suffrage League in York.

39 The idea of women running for election to the new local authorities was not officially encouraged either by the League or the Conservative Party at this stage, although voting for male Conservative candidates was actively promoted. 41 That same year 42 CONSERVATIVE SUFFRAGISTS there had been a split in the women’s suffrage movement over the question of party political affiliations. It had been suggested that societies of the Women’s Liberal Federation, which broadly supported female enfranchisement, should be able to affiliate to the National Society for Women’s Suffrage, but some members of the latter group feared that this would mean that the suffrage campaign would become identified solely with the Liberal Party.

51 Although these anti-suffragists believed that they could bring to political life their particular expertise in social and domestic matters, they remained content to wait for men to legislate on their behalf in order to remedy any remaining injustices against their sex. One of the main contentions of the appeal was that any extension of the vote to married women would bring the spectre of conflict between the sexes and the disruption of the hierarchical order of the traditional family – an argument which was used frequently by anti-suffragist Conservative politicians and members of the Primrose League.

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