Margaret Simey signs the nomination papers of Louise Ellman

April 18, 1997

(Photograph) - Margaret Simey, a 91-year-old former suffragette, was among four generations of women to sign the nomination papers of Louise Ellman as Labour candidate for Liverpool Riverside on Monday, writes Hannah Baldock.

Mrs Simey believes that when she was awarded her degree by Liverpool University in 1928 she became the world's first graduate in sociology. She is now honorary senior fellow at the university's department of sociology and social work. She hoped her appearance at the ceremony at Liverpool City Council would encourage the people of Liverpool not to take their vote for granted.

Recalling the first election campaign she fought in the 1920s as a student member of the Women's Emancipation Movement, she said: "I never dreamt that in 1997 I would be standing here, with a vote in my hand, proposing the nomination of a woman to represent Liverpool Riverside."

Back then, neither she nor Eleanor Rathbone, whom she was supporting for election as representative for the Combined Universities in Liverpool, had the vote. "I worked so hard for her I almost failed my exams," said Mrs Simey.

The constituency is the third safest Labour seat. Bob Parry, the retiring MP, had a majority of 17,437. Louise Ellman was leader of Lancashire County Council between 1981 and 1987.

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