6 February 2018 marks 100 years since Parliament passed the 1918 Representation of the People Act which granted some women over 30 who owned a property, and all men, the right to vote in the UK for the first time.
To mark the centenary, a special meeting of the Shadow Cabinet was held at the Museum of London. We wore commemorative centenary rosettes in suffragette colours and visited the ‘Votes for Women’ exhibition dedicated to those who campaigned tirelessly for over 50 years to achieve votes for women.
The exhibition features iconic objects from the Museum’s vast Suffragette collection, including Emmeline Pankhurst’s hunger strike medal and a banner embroidered with the names of 80 hunger strikers at Holloway prison.
I continued celebrating the centenary at the Vote 100 Evening Reception in Westminster Hall with speeches from the Prime Minister, the Speaker, and performances from The Grey Coat Hospital School Choir and Sarah Bonnell School Choir. During summer 2018 an interactive exhibition ‘Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament’ will be open to the public in Westminster Hall.
I encourage schools and community groups across Walsall to get involved in debating and celebrating this important anniversary in our democracy through a number of UK-wide events, such as EqualiTeas and UK Parliament Week 2018. In addition, there will be an exciting programme of events taking place in Parliament including special tours, events for visitors, and talks. For more information go to: www.parliament.uk/vote100/talks-tours