The Women’s Party was founded in 1917 and its two most prominent members were Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughter Christabel Pankhurst. The Women’s Party used new legislation in 1918 to stand in the ‘Coupon Election’ but made little impact.
By 1917, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst had abandoned their earlier beliefs based around socialism. World War One had seen both women becoming more and more right of centre politically.
The party believed in:
– A fight to the finish with Germany.
– More drastic war measures introduced by the government to reduce food wastage.
– Food kitchens to be established throughout the UK.
– The closing down of all non-essential industries so that the labour force found in these industries cold be redirected to the war factories and the mines.
– Anyone in government who had any remote link with Germany was to be removed from their post.
– Equal pay for equal work.
– Equal marriage and divorce laws.
– Parents to have equal rights over children.
– Equality of rights and opportunities in public services.
– Maternity benefits.
– The abolition of trade unions.
In 1918, Christabel stood as a Women’s Party candidate in the constituency of Smethwick. She only lost by only 775 votes to the Labour candidate John Davison. Sixteen other women also stood for the Women’s Party but they all lost. In the 1918 and 1919 elections no candidate from the Women’s Party won a seat in Parliament.