Up to the present day many talented women have found the search for a secure seat in the House of Commons a frustrating experience. One study of parliamentary candidates found that even in the 1950s and 1960s it was still common for Conservative selection committees to ask married women why they were prepared to neglect their husbands and children, while also interrogating single women on their marriage plans!1 Each of the party organisations has invariably excused its discrimination against female aspirants by pointing to the prejudice amongst the electorate. However, there is reason to think that such prejudice has dwindled to negligible proportions, and that the heart of the problem has always been the constituency selection committees.2 There has been very little attempt to ascertain for the inter-war period how far women’s ambitions were obstructed by male prejudice in the parties, how far by the voters and how far by the limited aspirations of women themselves. Clearly female candidates represented a novelty in the 1920s although as they had an established record in elective local government this should not be exaggerated.
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