Suffragette100: Barnstaple’s Ricky Knight goes on hunger strike
PUBLISHED: 13:00 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:04 06 February 2018
Green Party activist is supporting a national hunger strike as part of commemorating 100 years of votes for women – and campaigners say the system is still not fair
A North Devon activist has joined hundreds of people, politicians and public figures across the country in a 24-hour hunger strike to coincide with 100 years since women won the vote.
Green Party member Ricky Knight, from Barnstaple, is among those calling for proportional representation and a radical overhaul of the UK voting system.
Campaigners says the Hungry for Democracy event will commemorate the centenary of women’s suffrage today (Tuesday) and highlight that the struggle for democracy is far from over.
Hundreds of suffragettes imprisoned in the early part of the 20th century for campaigning against the government went on hunger strike in protest.
Many were force-fed and had to endure terrible conditions while in prison.
Ricky said: “There will be a march through Ilfracombe today, which my wife, my daughter and my granddaughter will join in.
“This mere 24 hour fast is the least I can do to commemorate the centenary of women - well, some women - gaining the vote, and putting their lives on the line to achieve this basic democratic right.
“But the journey to genuine representative democracy is far from over, Our preposterous first past the post electoral system actually renders the votes of the vast majority of the electorate meaningless; while the absurdity of the small number of UK ’swing’ constituencies ensures the votes from the vast majority of constituencies too are rendered irrelevant.”
High profile people taking part in the event include Amelia Womack (deputy leader, Green Party), Ben Bradshaw MP (Labour), Frances Foley (Compass), Hywel Williams MP (Plaid Cymru), Molly Scott Cato MEP (Green Party), Natalie Bennett (former leader, Green Party), Jonathan Bartley (co-leader, Green Party), Mary Honeyball MEP (Labour), Paul Oakden (chairman, UKIP), Peter Tatchell (human rights campaigner), Polly Toynbee (journalist and commentator), Baroness Sal Brinton (president, Liberal Democrats) and Stephen Kinnock MP (Labour).