Henry Smith MP Celebrates Equal Franchise Anniversary

To mark 90 years since men and women over 21 gained the right to vote, Henry Smith MP has spoken at an EqualiTeas event at Crawley Museum to share, debate and celebrate what equality means, over a cup of tea.

2018 marks 100 years since the Representation of the People Act 1918 extended the right to vote to all men over 21 and the first women, making this one of the most important centenaries in British democratic history.

Ten years later, the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928 gave all men and women over 21 the right to vote. These acts followed years of campaigning, with the first petition to Parliament asking for votes for women being presented to the House of Commons on 3rdAugust 1832.

As part of a programme of events from the UK Parliament to mark these important milestones for democracy, EqualiTeas are taking place between 18th June and 2nd July.


Henry said;

“It was a privilege to speak at Crawley Museum at an EqualiTeas event marking 90 years since women and men over 21 gained the right to vote.

“My thanks to the UK Parliament and West Sussex County Council for their work ensuring this commemoration takes place locally. It’s vital we honour the sacrifices made for our democracy.

“The Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928 was a vital step towards the rights women and men have today, and these anniversaries are an incredibly important opportunity for us to reflect on how far we have come.

“We all know that there’s still more to do when it comes to equality in Britain, and EqualiTeas is an excellent opportunity to reach out to others in our community and share our ideas for an even more equal society, while celebrating the strides we have already made.”


Historically, tea parties were hotbeds of political activism. It was 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, to increase awareness, discuss tactics and raise money.

However, EqualiTeas events do not have to be a tea party; just an event or activity that brings people together to discuss equality. Anyone can hold an EqualiTeas tea party, whether it is big or small, private or public, inside or out.


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