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Suffrage Centenary Fund

Volume 634: debated on Thursday 11 January 2018

8. What recent discussions she has had with her counterpart in the Scottish Government on plans for the suffrage centenary fund. (903239)

This year marks a milestone in our democracy; we will celebrate the achievements of outstanding women who have fought for gender equality. The Scottish Government are receiving centenary funding through the application of the Barnett formula. The Government Equalities Office has monthly meetings with the devolved Administrations, who are responsible for how they choose to mark the centenary in their respective nations.

I commend the Government on the establishment of the suffrage centenary fund to ensure that this important milestone is marked. Last year, I wrote to the Scottish Government Minister responsible, but I have received no response. Does the Minister share my belief that the devolved Administrations should spend the funds allocated to them to ensure that the centenary is properly celebrated in all parts of the United Kingdom?

Women throughout the UK went to the ballot boxes for the first time in 1918, and all four nations contributed to that landmark change. The Scottish Government are like the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive—they are all responsible for how they choose to mark the centenary in their respective nations. I understand that the Scottish Government will announce their plans shortly, but I cannot see why they would not want to mark such a great celebration in an important way.

Does the right hon. Lady agree that, as part of the celebrations, a fitting tribute to the great Winnie Ewing, who was elected 50 years ago last year, would be a portrait in the House of Commons?

Well, Mr Speaker, I am sure that you listened carefully to that question, as I understand that that is a matter for the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art.

The Works of Art Committee is a very important Committee. I have a feeling that the hon. Member for Livingston (Hannah Bardell) is going to beetle her way towards it and pitch in person. I am sure that the Committee looks forward to that prospect with eager anticipation.