In marking the centenary of women’s suffrage today, I remember the life of Annie Kenney, a cotton mill worker, from Springhead in my constituency who was the only working class woman to hold a senior position in the Women’s Social and Political Union.
Annie became a leading figure in the Suffragette movement in 1905 when she, and Christabel Pankhurst, were imprisoned for several days after heckling Winston Churchill and Sir Edward Grey at a rally in Manchester on the issue of votes for women.
Emmeline Pankhurst wrote in her autobiography that this event was the beginning of the Suffragettes’ militant phase and that they went on to interrupt a great many more meetings and events and, as a result, were often imprisoned and treated very badly.
It is thanks to the many sacrifices made by Annie, and other suffragettes, that I have the opportunity to serve Oldham East and Saddleworth as the 366th female Member of Parliament ever elected.
If you would like to support a campaign for the statue of Annie Kenney to be erected in Parliament Square, Oldham, you can contribute and find more information here.