THIS year we celebrate the centenary of the Suffragette movement, especially in the North West where women like Farnworth’s Mary Barnes was a pioneer.

Now, 100 years after the passing of the 1918 Representation of the People Act giving women the vote, the Fawcett Society – the UK’s leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights – says it would be a “fitting tribute” to pardon those who broke the law.

More than 1,300 women were arrested and hundreds jailed for arson, criminal damage and civil disobedience.

I don’t think we should. These brave women were never viewed as criminals by other women and, while the call for pardons is very understandable, it seems inappropriate.

Suffragettes knew why they carried out their campaign: they wanted to change the system. They were not victims. They were strong-minded, determined women who today might not thank you for white-washing their actions. Let their history remain.