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The Early Liberal Party and Women's Suffrage

            The Parliamentary Liberal Party refused to support the cause of women's suffrage. They believed the extension of suffrage to include women would damage their electoral success as property-owning women would vote Conservative. As Source 16 says, the progressive ideology of the Liberal Party was at odds with considerations of political advantage'. Overall, after their 1906 landslide victory, the Liberal Party and its leader Herbert Asquith felt that giving women the vote would damage the prospects of its social programs succeeding especially. Although many members of the Liberal Party were privately supportive of women suffrage (such as David Lloyd George) this was not in harmony with the main party line.
             Before 1906, none of the bills for the enfranchisement of the women were introduced by the government but by individual members. Indeed, all these bills failed during this period due to a lack of government support and refusal for parliamentary time to debate this issue. This trend continued after this period mainly as a result of the determination of Asquith to prevent the passage of legislation to give women the vote. For example, in 1909 Asquith refused to support the Women's Suffrage Bill, which ultimately led to its failure.
             Galdstone's rejection of an amendment to the 1884 Reform Act is perhaps confused with a wider Liberal rejection of votes for women by Lydia Becker in Source 17. The fact the Liberal Party does not care a straw for the interests and wishes of women' is an indication of her frustration with the Liberal Party or simply an attempt to encourage support for her cause and destroy support for the hypocritical Liberal Party. After all, the origin of this source is from one of the most ardent supporters of votes for women.
             Becker's is refuted too by the fact that by 1913. Just as maybe the view of Gladstone in the 1880's was contrary to his party, Asquith's personal resolve against votes for women seemed to be at odds with the rest of the cabinet.

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