Lowering the voting age for women
Catalogue reference: HO 45/13020/47274/18, Part 1
Catalogue reference: HO 45/13020/474274/91, Part 2


Telephone: Victoria 6188
"THE WOMANS LEADER."
Telegrams: "Voiceless, London."
DIRECT SUBSCRIBERS - 1 1/2d.

NATIONAL UNION OF SOCIETIES FOR EQUAL CITIZENSHIP.
15, DEAN'S YARD, WESTMINSTER, S.W.1.

Hon. Treasurer:

President:

Miss ELEANOR RATHBONE, C.C., J.P.,

Parliamentary Secretary:

Mrs Hubback.
Mrs. SODDY.

Office Hours

 9.30-5.30
Saturdays -
 9.30-12.30
21st January, 1926.
Dear Sir,
KING'S SPEECH.
1. Equal Franchise.
I am writing on behalf of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship to express our hope that some reference to the intentions of the Government with regard to Equal Franshise will be made in the King's Speech.
We are anxiously awaiting a statement from the Government as to the date at which the Members of the Conference, you have promised to set up, will be appointed.
During the debate on the Representation of the People Bill, on February 20th last year, the Home Secretary indicated that the Conference could be set up this year, and that legislation based on its Report could be introduced next year. As you are aware, women's organisations everywhere attach the greatest importance to the early setting up of this Conference in order that the legislation may reach the Statute Book as soon as possible.

[handwritten] Daily Mail / 3rd Nov. 1927.

THE FIRST FRUITS OF FOLLY.
 

I am entirely and absolutely opposed to the "flapper" vote. I was not committed to this at the last general election, nor were hundreds of other candidates, and I consider the indiscriminate increase of the franchise, without a shred of responsibility, to be the most idiotic and ill-considered piece of legislation that has ever been proposed. - Captain J.W. Reynolds, in a letter to the Doncaster Conservative Executive, on his resigning his candidature for the Don Valley Division.

In his letter to the Doncaster Conservative Executive Captain Reynolds expresses what there is every reason to believe are the real sentiments of the great majority of Conservative voters. They have never been asked their opinion on the Government's crazy project of giving votes to girls of 21; and the more they hear of it the more they dislike it.

The best judges almost without exception are convinced that "votes for 'flappers'" means "votes for Socialists," with deadly results to the Conservative Party. Every one knows that no pledge to enfranchise "flappers" was given by the Government at the last general election.

The municipal elections, in which the Socialists have secured huge gains, mainly at the cost of the Conservatives, supply fresh evidence that the character of the electorate has not yet recovered from the last great inflation of 1918. There is clearly an enormous mass of voters who, no doubt, are well-meaning enough but have not acquired the sense of responsibility and that political

instinct without which representative institutions cannot work. These irresponsible voters sway this way and that and are always liable to vote for those who will promise them most at other people's expense.

When such is the electoral situation, to add another 4 1/2 million votes to the undigested millions already on the register is to complicate all the problems of government and to play the Socialist game-a procedure of which certain of the Conservative leaders seem so enamoured that they have recourse to it at every turn. Yet, as Lord Rothermere has warned them, "you cannot fight Socialism with Socialism."

If votes are given to "flappers" and if the constituencies are flooded with new and inexperienced voters, men will be placed in a minority in two-thirds of the constituencies; and the Socialist vote will be so largely increased that a Socialist Government will become inevitable. It is an open secret that Socialists calculate that at least three-fourths of the new votes will be given to them, thus enabling them to sweep the country.

The first fruits of the present Conservative policy of trying to outbid the Socialists with Socialistic measures are now being reaped by the Conservative Party in the municipal elections. The full harvest of this policy will come with the next general election of members for the House of Commons. With the help of the "flappers'" vote the Socialists believe that the total of Conservatives in the next Parliament will be reduced to such a small remnant as to paralyse the Conservative Party and deprive it for an indefinite period of all effective political influence.
   

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