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The Cat and Mouse Act

60 second histories

This video covers:  An explanation of the Cat and Mouse Act.

I staged my first hunger strike to try and improve conditions for other suffragettes, and was quickly joined by Pethick-Lawrence and other WSPU members. The Government was afraid that one of us might die from starvation and thus become a martyr to our cause; so, they introduced a policy to force feed us. Sickening scenes of violence took place as doctors went from cell to cell performing their hideous force-feeding task, but it became so controversial that the Government had to change tack and introduce the Temporary Discharge of Ill Health Act. This new act allowed suffragettes to go on hunger strike, but as soon as we became ill, we were released ‘on licence’ and allowed home to recover. Then, as soon as we were well enough, we would be re-arrested and returned to prison to serve the rest of our sentence and the whole thing would be repeated again and again. It became known as the Cat and Mouse Act because of a cat’s habit of playing with its prey.
20th Century
Suffragette Movement
Key people
Suffragette Movement
Emmeline Pankhurst
Key words: 
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