From Liberal to Labour with Women's Suffrage: The Story of Catherine Marshall

By Jo Vellacott | Go to book overview

6 Organizing Press Work and
Experiencing International
Suffrage Sisterhood: January
to August 1911

Catherine commonly went to London for at least several weeks near the beginning of the year, and now, in 1911, the intensity of the suffrage campaign left no doubt as to how her time there would be spent. 1 Increasingly, Catherine undertook responsibilities at the NU headquarters, and for the national body in different geographical areas, but without completely giving up her local and regional involvement in the northwest. In this, her career reflects the nation‐ wide development of the NU, the contribution of the provincial societies, the insistence of the north on being heard, the sometimes painful adaptation necessitated by rapid growth and constantly changing conditions. Her political development over the next two years, as well, was closely to parallel that of the NU as a whole, marked by a last attempt to bring official Liberalism on side, followed by final disillusionment both in the Liberal party and in private members' bills, which would always depend on a measure of government goodwill. For strategic reasons, the NU would look to the Left for support; for Catherine, this was to be a move for which she was ready philosophically.

The December 1910 election had made very little change in the composition of the House of Commons.Liberals and Conservatives were evenly balanced, but the Liberals were still in power, with the help of the Irish Nationalists and of the small Labour party. 2 Brailsford supplied the NU executive with a count of the suffrage supporters: 408 members were said to be in favour of some form of

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