The Eligibility of Constance Markievicz

The History of Parliament

On 14th December 1918, Countess Constance Markievicz (1868-1927) became the first woman to be elected to the UK Parliament, but she did not take her seat. Dr Mari Takayanagi, Senior Archivist at the Parliamentary Archives  and joint Project Manager for Vote 100  discusses how this came about and whether she would in fact have been eligible to be an MP.

In 1918, the Representation of the People Act allowed some women over the age of 30 to vote in Parliamentary elections for the first time, and the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act allowed women over the age of 21 to stand as candidates in Parliamentary elections. Constance Markievicz wrote to her sister Eva Gore-Booth:

By the way, shall you stand for Parliament? I wouldn’t mind doing it as a “Shinner” as an election sport, and one does not have to go to Parliament if one wins, but…

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