Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. /
  3. Feminism
  4. /
15 December 2015updated 20 Aug 2021 9:20am

The Returning Officer: Suffragettes VII

“We beseech thee, O Lord, on behalf of Emmeline Pankhurst, Helen Crawfurd and all the brave women suffering for their faith. Amen.”

By Stephen Brasher

Helen Crawfurd stood for the Communist Party in Bothwell (1929) and Aberdeen North (1931), where she was adopted at a meeting in which the chair stated that it was “better to split the workers’ vote than to be represented in parliament by Mr Wedgwood Benn, who had not the interests of the workers at heart”. In 1913, Crawfurd was sent to prison for breaking the windows of an army recruiting office in Glasgow and refusing to pay the fine. She went on hunger strike.

The following weekend, suffragettes arranged for a special prayer to be said at St Mary’s Cathedral. When this was not delivered as requested, a dozen stood up and chanted: “We beseech thee, O Lord, on behalf of Emmeline Pankhurst, Helen Crawfurd and all the brave women suffering for their faith. Amen.”

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

This article appears in the 09 Dec 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The clash of empires