Reappraising the Representation of the People Act, 1918

25 August 2018 | Bethany Reynard

Passed in the last year of the First World War, the Representation of the People Act enjoyed all party support, in recognition of the contribution to the war effort made by women and some working-class men, previously excluded from the franchise.

THE SUFFRAGETTE MOVEMENT DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR (Q 107103) A female women’s rights activist handing out the Suffragette newspaper to British servicemen, 16th April 1915. She is holding a poster for the newspaper, edited by Christabel Pankhurst, showing the headline ‘We Will Not Be Prussianised’, seemingly showing solidarity for British troops on the front. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source:

Although the act still excluded women under 30, it tripled the electorate and transformed British politics into a representative democracy. The Representation of the People Act and its legacy are still the subject of intense historical debate relating to gender, class and nationhood.

As part of UCLan’s contribution to the centenary commemorations of the First World War, this day conference will draw together speakers who are currently involved in the debate.

The conference complements the exhibition Represent! Voices 100 Years On, held by UCLan’s long term partners, the People’s History Museum in Manchester between 2nd June 2018 to 2nd February 2019. Attendance is open to interested members of the public as well as academics.

Speakers include:

Dr Julie Gotlieb (University of Sheffield)

Professor Karen Hunt (Keele University)

Michael Reeve (PhD Candidate, University of Hull)

Dr Jack Southern (University of Central Lancashire)

Dr David Stewart (University of Central Lancashire)

Dr David Swift (Ben Gurion University of the Negev)

Dr Daniel Weinbren (Open University)

Find out how to book tickets here.