Caroline Phillips seems to have fallen out of favour with the WSPU leadership by 1909, and her various suggestions of meetings and other events were ignored or dismissed. Instead, Christabel Pankhurst wrote complaining that not enough Aberdeen suffragettes were travelling down to London to take part in militant operations such as the smashing of glass windows.
Nonetheless it seems to have been a total shock when Phillips received a telegram on 5 January 1909 that stated that Sylvia Pankhurst was being sent to Aberdeen to take charge of the WSPU branch.
Caroline Phillips’ association with the suffragettes ended soon after Sylvia Pankhurst arrived in Aberdeen. A letter from Sylvia Pankhurst to all branch members made it clear that the local branch, with its claims to independence, was to be closed and all members would now be directly enrolled in the national organisation, and organised from headquarters. A new office was to be set up and a new organiser appointed. While there was a final sentence applauding the ‘excellent work already done by the local workers’ Caroline Phillips was not mentioned by name.