Employment minister Priti Patel is going to give a speech on Tuesday that will compare women who want Britain to leave the EU, with the Suffragettes who fought for the right of women to vote.
The speech which is timed to coincide with International Women’s day, will be used by Patel to launch Women for Britain, a group that will try to persuade women to back a Brexit.
Around a quarter of women haven’t decided which way they will vote in the June 23 referendum, almost twice as many as men. This makes the an extremely valuable audience for Brexit campaigners.
Speaking to Sky News this morning, Patel says that the reason so many women are undecided is that they are more “risk averse” and they have been put off by the scare stories they have heard in the campaigning so far. Patel aims to convince women that they should be concerned about the way the EU impacts their lives.
“Women voters as we know are somewhat more risk averse, they have been put off by the campaigning that we’ve seen thus far, because of the scare stories that we’ve particularly seen and heard… They should be concerned about the European Union, decision making in Europe and that affects women and their children and their children’s generation on for example access to public services, domestic laws and legislation in particular.”
Patel will use her speech to argue that famous Suffragettes such as Emmeline Pankhurst didn’t fight for the right to vote in order to see “decisions surrendered to the EU’s undemocratic institutions and political elite.”
Here is what Patel is going to say:
“In many ways, Women for Britain are fighting for the same cause. The suffragettes fought for our democratic freedom. Now we are the ones who must fight to protect it… Emmeline Pankhurst and the suffragettes did not fight to have the right to vote on who governs them only to then see those decisions surrendered to the EU’s undemocratic institutions and political elite… Our campaign to take back control from the EU will enhance our democracy and empower women in this country.”
Telling Sky News that “women didn’t fight for the right to vote to then give away powers and decision making to Brussels and to unelected bureaucrats in Europe,” Patel said that while everyone feels strongly about these issues, “women in particular will feel motivated about [the issues] as well.”
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