Lady Astor’s valiant speech

by
17 April 2020

April 16th, 1920.

TO THE surprise of everybody interested, the House of Commons on Wednesday resolved by a handsome majority that any change in the law of divorce that would imperil the permanence of the marriage contract would be harmful to the best interests of the community. Thus was Mr Kendall’s motion in favour of the Majority Report “amended”. Many and curious reasons were urged in favour of relaxation, but none so odd as that of Mr Kendall, who pleaded that by adopting the recommendation of the Majority Report marriage would be placed on an impregnable rock. Lady Astor made short work of such argument. Her speech was the surprise of the evening, since in her election speeches she had declared herself in favour of divorce “reform”. Valiantly she availed herself of the feminine privilege of changing her mind. We say valiantly, because in politics it is usually considered disgraceful to increase in wisdom. Lady Astor, however, went one better than the amendment, for she roundly stated that she thought the world was too loose altogether, and needed a tightening-up for men as well as women. One other notable feature of the debate was that laymen in the House of Commons were found bolder than ecclesiastics in the House of Lords in taking their stand on the Christian doctrine of marriage.

 

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