Six day Equal Votes walk through Cumbria and Lancashire will culminate in rally in Preston's Winckley Square

North west campaigners are joining a six day Equal Votes march from Grasmere to Preston which will replicate a suffrage march.

By Fiona Finch
Monday, 6th June 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 6th June 2022, 4:14 pm

Their walk, which culminates in a rally in Winckley Square, Preston, on June 11, aims to rally support for the adoption of a PR (proportional representation) voting system.

Under PR each party’s share of seats in Parliament matches the share of votes it wins.

There will be a street stall, speeches, costumes and banners and a local choir at the Preston rally which will form part of a national MVM (Make Votes Matter) 'Get Moving for PR' action day.

Suffrage campaigners pictured on the 1913 Great Pilgrimage (photo courtesy of Museum of London)

The event has been organised by local voting reform campaign group MVM North Lancashire. MVM is a national cross-party campaign for PR in the House of Commons.

The walk replicates the six day 1913 Great Pilgrimage march for votes for women. It follows its north west route and there will be street stalls in Grasmere, Bowness, Kendal, Arnside, Lancaster and Garstang, as well as Preston.

Anne Margaret Smith, one of the organisers, said: “Looking back, it’s amazing that anyone thought it was OK to deny women the vote. In the future, our children will look back and wonder why we’ve put up with the lack of representation our current system leads to.”

She continued: “No government since 1935 has won a majority of votes, which means most of our voices are unheard. We’re actually one of the few developed democracies around the world that still hasn’t adopted PR. It’s time we caught up – countries with PR have greater income equality, better standards of living and better environmental policies ... Changing our voting system would be the biggest improvement to our democracy since women won the vote a century ago.”

The Great Pilgrimage was organised by the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), a non-militant organisation campaigning for votes for women. Over six weeks women and men marched peacefully from across the UK to converge in London for a demonstration attended by 50,000 people.

The Equal Votes Walk will also celebrate the achievements of the Pilgrimage march. The organisers say councillors and MPs from across the political spectrum will be joining them along the way and anyone interested is welcome to join them. More information is available from [email protected]