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Lady Astor enters the Commons

06 December 2019

December 5th, 1919.

WHEN Lady Astor took her seat in the House of Commons on Monday, the Mother of Parliaments entered on the first phase of its transformation into the Parliament of Mothers. It would have been more satisfactory if the first lady member had been of English birth. Ours is a country with ancient institutions and long traditions, for neither of which is Lady Astor bound by ancestry to feel any reverence. We showed in a previous issue her indifference to the grave moral issues involved in the divorce question, in her flippant answer to a heckler. Smartness, a gift for repartee, and readiness of speech her ladyship possesses, but these are not the highest qualifications for a Parliamentary career. We must say we should have preferred to see an English matron with less showy qualifications the first woman representing a constituency. We once expressed the opinion that a real Parliament of Mothers, sitting in its own house and reporting measures to the Imperial Parliament for rejection or adoption, somewhat on the lines of the Enabling Bill, would have been a more effective means of getting those questions discussed on which feminine opinion would be invaluable. A mere sprinkle of women members in the House of Commons is scarcely likely to be very effective. But the time has passed for discussing what might have been.

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