Local MP Sarah Newton joined Conservative campaigners on the streets of Truro to persuade more women to get involved in democracy – 100 years since women were first allowed to stand for Parliament.
The Truro and Falmouth MP, together with a team of young volunteers, handed out leaflets and gave advice on how to get involved in representing their local community in a bid to encourage more women to stand – or to recommend a woman that would be a great politician.
It’s part of a campaign – Ask Her To Stand – encouraging more women to stand for election. Women make up 32% of MPs in the House of Commons - the highest number in its history, but still there is more to do.
On February 6, 1918 The Representation of the People Act was passed giving some women the vote. On November 21 that year the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act was passed allowing women to stand for Parliament for the first time. And, on December 14, women voted in a general election for the first time, with 8.5 million women eligible.
Sarah said: “I’ve long campaigned to get more women into public life at all levels because greater female representation makes a real difference to everyone’s lives.
“The same is true of the many other groups who do not see themselves properly reflected in public life: people from minority ethnic groups, members of the LGBT community, people with disabilities, or those from less privileged backgrounds.
While the Conservative Party has a proud record on female representations. Nancy Astor – a Conservative - was the first woman to take a seat in Parliament when she was elected in 1919 to the nearby Plymouth Sutton ward. Margaret Thatcher become the first woman to become Prime Minister in 1979, and Theresa May became our second. But there is still much more to do.
“So let us celebrate this centenary, and give thanks to those who gave their all so that we might be here today. But let us also commit ourselves to carrying forward the torch they passed to us.”