Preston People's Choir serenades voting reform rally in Winckley Square in Preston

Campaign group Make Votes Matter North Lancashire arrived in Preston for a rally which was the culmination of a six day walk from Grasmere to the city.

By Fiona Finch
Monday, 13th June 2022, 3:45 pm

They were serenaded by Preston People’s Choir and joined by supporters and passer-by at the event on Saturday in Winckley Square.

The 2022 ‘Equal Votes Walk’ had followed the northwest route of a 1913 Great Pilgrimage march for votes for women.

Participants, many dressed as suffragettes and carrying banners, were celebrating the achievement of the suffragist movement and raising awareness of their call for further reform of the UK voting system.

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The MVM walkers are welcomed at the rally in Winckley Square Photo: David Burton

Make Votes Matter (MVM) is a national cross-party campaign calling for the introduction of proportional representation in the House of Commons which would ensure each party’s share of seats matches the share of votes it wins.

Spokeswoman Anne Margaret Smith said: “We had a great week of walking and talking to people as we went. The weather was kind to us and the people we met were overwhelmingly supportive. It feels like there is a desire for change in the country.”

She continued: "It enabled us to make contact with a lot of people in our area who, like us, feel that we need to update our voting system, but perhaps were not sure what options there might be, or how to start calling for a change.It has been a wonderful experience and we have laid the foundations for further campaigning this year in the towns we visited."

Day one of the walk - campaigners are pictured leaving Grasmere Photo: Mark Mc

During the week the walkers stopped in Lancaster and Garstang.

In Preston the walkers were joined by members of other MVM groups from Cumbria, West Lancashire and Yorkshire. Speakers at the rally included Lancaster City Coun Jack Lenox, the Green Party's national spokesperson on culture, Coun Lizzi Collinge, County Councillor for Lancaster East and Chair of Morecambe and Lunesdale Labour and Peter Jackson, Chair of the Liberal Democrats in Lancaster and Morecambe.

The rally was part of the Make Votes Matter national day of action ‘Get Moving for PR’.

Some of the Preston People’s Choir songs, were written or arranged by choir members. Songs performed included Nana was a Suffragette by Jules Gibb, Remember Preston by Moira Hill and We shall go singing by Kate Thomas.

For more about MVM contact [email protected] or see Twitter: @mvmnorthlancs Instagram: makevotesmatter_northlancs