Samuel Evans (Mid
House should not decide upon this important question after only just an
hour’s discussion. This
was a question of far-reaching importance…
By his proposal the hon. Member [i.e. Kier Hardie] was endeavouring
to more than double the number of voters in this country at one stroke….
had been no sign of any real and genuine agitation in favour of such
extension [of the franchise]. He
knew that there were some who had asked for it in quite an irregular way,
but there was no evidence on the part of women as a body that they desired
that the franchise should be extended to them…
thought the view of all really sensible men who had considered the
subject, was that they did not desire or require the assistance of women
in the House of Commons, and that they did not seem it fitting that women
should come down into the arena of politics and engage generally in public
affairs. They thought
that women had their own honourable position in life, that that position
had been accorded to them by nature, and that their proper sphere was the
home, where they might exercise their good and noble influence in the
scared circle of the family and the home.
Women would be neglecting their homes if they cam into the House of
Commons, and when they would be compelled to attend public meetings and to
read all the newspapers and Blue-books and other dry documents, so as to
fit themselves for the franchise.
In no country in the world except in some of our Colonies had women
enjoyed such rights and privileges of citizenship.
His view was that all the public duties of citizenship ought to be
imposed upon man and man alone.
If women were to be entitled to the privileges of citizenship, they
ought to share its responsibilities, and to perform its duties.
Would it be desirable that women should have to go out to
all women were enfranchised, as it was proposed by the Resolution, they
would at once swamp the votes of men.
Debates (Hansard) 4th Series, Vol.155, March 30 to
April 25, 1906
, cols 1582-1587.
speech was greatly interrupted, including such an outcry from the Ladies
Gallery ‘which completely interrupted the proceedings’…
Some voices were heard to shriek out “We Will not have this talk
any longer,” “Divide, divide”; “Vote, vote, vote;” “Vote for
Justice for women,” “We refuse to have our Bill talked out,” “You
do not believe in equality and justice.” The Speaker ordered
the Ladies Gallery to be cleared, and Mr Evans continued speaking until
the end of the hour.
speaker in the same debate placed the emphasis on 'women's problems':
There were times and periods in women’s lives
when the required rest not only for mind but for body, and to drag them
into the political arena under those conditions would be cruel indeed.
speaker - Mr Cremer - insisted that he was not a 'women hater':
He was too fond of them to drag them into the
political arena and to ask them to undertake responsibilities, duties, and
obligations which they did not understand and which they did not care for.