FOREWORD BY PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY
When Constance Markievicz stood for election as MP for Dublin St Patrick’s in 1918, few people believed she could win the seat – yet she did. A breakthrough in the bitter struggle for female enfranchisement had come earlier that year, followed by a second landmark piece of legislation allowing women to be elected to Parliament – and Markievicz duly became the first female MP. A member of Sinn Féin, she refused to take her seat. She did, however, pave the way for future generations, and only eleven months later, Nancy Astor entered the Commons. A century on from that historic event, 491 women have now passed through the hallowed doors of Parliament.
Each one of these pioneers has fought tenaciously to introduce enduring reform, and in doing so has helped revolutionise Britain’s political landscape, ensuring that women’s contributions are not consigned to the history books.
Containing profiles of every woman MP from 1918 to 1996, and with female contributors from Mary Beard to Caroline Lucas, Ruth Davidson to Yvette Cooper and Margaret Beckett to Ann Widdecombe, The Honourable Ladies is an indispensable and illuminating testament to the stories and achievements of these remarkable women.
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About the Author
Jacqui Smith was Labour MP for Redditch from 1997 until 2010. While Tony Blair was Prime Minister, she held junior ministerial positions before being promoted to Home Secretary in Gordon Brown’s Cabinet – becoming the first-ever female Home Secretary and only the third woman to hold one of the great offices of state. Following her parliamentary career, Jacqui has acted as a consultant for KPMG and featured regularly on TV and radio, presenting documentaries for BBC 5 Live and appearing on programmes such as Question Time and This Week. She previously delivered the Sky News Paper Review, alongside co-editor Iain, and the pair now co-host LBC weekly political podcast For The Many.