On International Women’s Day, Priti Patel managed to divide members of the fairer sex after she claimed that the suffragettes fought for the same cause as those who back Brexit. Speaking at the Women for Britain launch, Patel said it was the duty of Out-ers to protect the ‘democratic freedom’ the women had fought for:
‘As a suffragette, Pankhurst fought for the rights of women to have a vote, a voice and a say in how their society is governed and who governs it. In many ways, Women for Britain are fighting for the same cause. The suffragettes fought for our democratic freedom. Now we are the ones who must fight to protect it.’
Unsurprisingly her comments ruffled feathers at the In campaign’s women’s day event last night at the Hospital Club. While Nicky Morgan kept things civil, Labour’s Stella Creasy spoke of her outrage that Patel had mentioned the suffragettes in this context:
‘I have to say, I got a bit cross this morning hearing the stuff people were putting out. How dare people try and claim the suffragettes would have voted to walk away?’
Creasy says that leaving the EU is more in the spirit of ‘surrendered wives’ as it means ‘having other people make decisions for you’.
‘The suffragettes dedicated their lives and in some sense gave their lives to fighting to be in the room and making decisions and being equal partners in that process.
If we walk away, walking away isn’t the spirit of suffragettes. It is the spirit of surrendered wives It’s the spirit of having other people making decisions for you that you have to abide by and having no influence about what happens.’
However, given that those in the Brexit camp tend to claim that they want to leave the EU for the very reason that they don’t wish to have ‘other people making decisions for them’, Mr S suspects Creasy’s argument will fail to win many Leave supporters round.