MP’s tribute to campaigners

Bulwell MP Graham Allen will attend a gathering to mark the anniversary of three Nottinghamshire men hanged fighting for the right to vote this weekend.

The representative of the Nottingham North constituency will say a few words on the steps of Shire Hall of Nottingham’s Lace Market - the site of the gallows for the executions on 1st February 1832.

George Beck from Wollaton, George Hearson of Nottingham, and John Armstrong of Mansfield paid the ultimate price for protesting against the failure of an 1831 bill to extend the vote to the working class.

The subsequent troubles included attacks on Colwick Hall, mills at Beeston and the burning down of Nottingham Castle.

Mr Allen has highlighted their story in a bid to get more people to vote in the next general election, which will be called by the government this year or next.

“I get very annoyed when these kind of sacrifices were made for the working man and woman and yet there are people who say they cannot be bothered,” he said.

“These young men were basically plucked out from a whole host of people and made examples of - all because there had been petitions and meetings and attempts to get the vote.”

Just 54.21 per cent of the electorate voted in the Nottingham North constituency during the 2010 election, making in the 25th lowest of all 650 seats across the UK.

Mr Allen added: “To me it shows people should be bothered and it shows it’s not just in South Africa in other places around the world but here as well that there’s been a fight for democracy.

“It’s happened on our own doorstep and some people may find these people in their family trees only five generations ago.

The trio’s sacrifice was not in vain as later in 1832 the vote was extended from around 500,000 to 813,000 by means of the Reform Act