MP Robert Buckland is supporting a year-long programme of events organised by the UK Parliament to mark 100 years since the 1918 Representation of the People Act, which gave all men and some women the vote for the first time.
The Vote 100 programme includes a wide range of events and activities commemorating the women and men who fought to achieve electoral equality.
The Representation of the People Act extended the right to vote to all men over 21 and the first women, making this one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history.
Throughout the year there will be a major exhibition in Parliament – “Voice and Vote” – as well as an exciting programme of talks and tours in Parliament. There will also be a number of UK-wide events, such as EqualiTeas and UK Parliament Week 2018.
Schools and community groups in South Swindon are encouraged to get involved in debating and celebrating the anniversary.
Mr Buckland, MP for South Swindon, said: “The Representation of the People Act 1918 was a vital step towards the rights women have today, and the centenary of the Act is an incredibly important opportunity for us to reflect on how far we have come, thanks to the extreme bravery and sacrifice of the women who fought for equality, including Swindon suffragette Edith New.
“The former teacher is best-known for chaining herself to the railings of 10 Downing Street in January 1908 together with Olivia Smith, as a diversion so fellow suffragettes Flora Drummond and Mary Macarthur could sneak in.
“Edith is one of many notable people who have been honoured by having a street named after them, and in 2016, Swindon’s very first blue plaque was installed outside of 24 North Street, Old Town, marking Edith’s birthplace.
“Whether it’s chatting about the issues over a cup of tea or engaging with one of the many exciting events as part of this year’s UK Parliament Week, there are countless opportunities for schools and community groups across South Swindon to get involved in this key anniversary.
“We all know that there is still more to do, and I look forward to working with people across South Swindon ensure we create an even more equal society.”