From Keighley News, June 26th, 2018
Written by Alistair Shand
A TEA party is being staged in Keighley on Saturday to mark 100 years since women – and working-class men – got the vote. The event – in the Airedale Shopping Centre, from noon to 2pm – is being hosted by Keighley MP John Grogan and town mayor Councillor Fulzar Ahmed.
Commons speaker John Bercow has asked that similar commemorations be held across the country.
The Representation of the People Act – which gained royal assent in February, 1918 – granted the vote to women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification. The same act also gave the vote to all men over the age of 21.
Mr Grogan said: “Historically, tea parties were hotbeds of political activism.
“They were one of the few ways women could meet without men to discuss and plan.
“The leading suffrage organisations used tea parties and tea shops as central elements in their campaigning. They were excellent spaces to increase awareness, discuss tactics and raise money.
“The Representation of the People Act tripled the national electorate.
“In Keighley constituency, the numbers on the electoral roll increased from 14,142 in 1913 to 34,934 in 1918.
“It is sobering that many of the brave lads from Keighley who fought and died in the First World War did not enjoy the right to vote.”
Mr Grogan added that Keighley played a vital role in the suffragette movement, thanks to activist Nina Boyle.
She became the first woman to be nominated to stand for election to the House of Commons in the April 1918 Keighley by-election. The by-election was the first to take place nationally after the passage of the new act.