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The Suffragette Election

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The Suffragette Election

Trusted, tried and true? A Labour MP takes a principled stand on women's right to vote

Non-Fiction 1912 1 mins

Overview

Was the battle for women's votes fought only by women? No, some men actively supported women's suffrage too. Labour MP George Lansbury, seen here surrounded by youngsters with his campaign slogan, 'Trusted, tried & true', resigned his seat in Bromley and Bow so that he could use the 1912 by-election as a platform to promote his belief in equality. His party declined to support him, and he stood instead as a Women's Suffrage and Socialist candidate, losing to Unionist Reginald Blair by 751 votes.

The following year, Lansbury was imprisoned for vocalising support for arson attacks at a Women's Social and Political Union rally. He won his old seat back from Blair in 1922 and served under Ramsay Macdonald in Labour's second government of 1929-31. After Macdonald's decision to form and lead a national government with the Conservatives in 1931 split his party, Lansbury sided with the rebels and ultimately rose to the leadership in 1932 (he was replaced by Clement Attlee in 1935).