In the Commons today I called for greater Parliamentary recognition of the 1839 Chartist Rising in Newport.
Speaking in questions to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, I said “A big part of Newport’s heritage is the Chartist Rising which happened 180 years ago this November. In Newport we commemorate this every year but what more can be done in this place and nationally to recognise the chartist movement’s critical role in shaping our democracy.”
DCMS Minister Michael Ellis responded by acknowledging the Chartist Rising as part of the UK’s ‘rich cultural tapestry’.
We owe the Newport Chartists – and others who followed them in fighting for the vote – a huge debt of gratitude for their sacrifice; but there are only a handful of items commemorating their struggle and people’s history in Westminster. Last year Parliament held a wonderful – and much overdue – exhibit on women’s suffrage to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People’s Act. It was hugely popular, which shows that there is a real appetite for greater acknowledgement of the central role played by ordinary men and women in the story of British democracy. The Chartists are a key part of that story, and should feature more prominently in this place.