Why Did The Conservatives Not Act On Women's Suffrage And How Much Support Was There For Votes For Women In The Liberal Party?


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Richard Marsden answered
Perhaps female suffrage did not become an issue for the Conservatives because their backbenchers were opposed to any extension of the franchise rather than an aversion to women. Conservatives traditionally preferred the status quo and were against the development of democracy at that particular time in British political history.

Most of the Liberal membership agreed with votes for women but the leadership opposed it. Gladstone was against it and Asquith held entrenched views. Asquith opposed it for four reasons: women didn't want it, they weren't fit for it, they operated by personal influence and it would upset the natural order of things (a woman's place was in the home). The general support for the liberals was faint hearted. A number of individual MPs did give a lot of encouragement such as John Sturat Mill, F. P Lawrence and R. Pankhurst. In 1910, 25 MPs worked very hard for the Conciliation Bill.

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