Millicent Garrett Fawcett to the Editor of The Times

Scope and Content

Manuscript draft. Headed 'The Age Limit of 30 for Women Voters: Votes for Women on the same terms as they are or may be granted to men. To the Editor of The Times.' 'Sir. A few days ago I attended the sitting of Committee A which is now considering the amending Bill now before the House which has for its main object the reduction of the absurdly high age limit for women voters. I was amazed to hear several conservative members of the committee urge that there had been something equivalent to an honourable understanding in which the principal suffrage societies had concurred at the time when the whole subject of the Representation of the People was before the Speaker's Conference, that the age limit of 30 would be left undisturbed for at least ten years! This view is in direct opposition to the actual facts.' Quotes several paragraphs from the report of 27 Jan 1917 on the Speaker's Conference, and then discusses the dissatisfaction of the suffrage societies with some aspects of the Conference's recommendations, and their insistence that women should have suffrage on the same terms as men. Though the Speaker's Conference report 'represented the near approach of victory of Women's Suffrage, it was not treated by any of the Suffrage Societies nor by the House of Commons as sacrosanct; no word was ever heard then of there being 'an honourable obligation' to remain petrified for ten years'. Cites Lord Curzon and others as evidence for this assertion. 'I think I have said enough to show that there was never 'an honourable understanding' on our part to maintain a system which enables women to be candidates for and to sit in Parliament from the age of 21 but prohibits them from giving (?) a vote until they are thirty'.