In 1895 the progressive Labour candidate Richard Pankhurst fails to be elected as the MP for Gorton in Manchester but assures his wife Emmeline and elder daughters Christabel and Sylvia that one day socialism will triumph. Three years later he has died of stomach ulcers with art student Sylvia, who kept a vigil by his bed, feeling guilty. Emmeline opens a shop but maintains strong links with the Labour movement through its leader Keir Hardie and, whilst Sylvia is more interested in social work, Christabel becomes a fierce spokesperson for female suffrage due to her friendship with feminist Eva Gore-Booth. After Sylvia has encountered sexism at the local Labour club Emmeline decides to form her own party the Women's Social and Political Union.
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