Britain’s First Female MP

An article in a newspaper this week marked the fact that the new law which first gave the vote to some women was passed on 6th February 1918, 100 years ago.

A Countess Markievicz, born Constance Gore-Booth, was elected to Parliament in 1918 but never actually sat in the House of Commons. She had reportedly shot a Dublin policeman dead during the Easter Rising in 1916, for which she was given clemency on grounds of her gender. Her response was apparently: ” I wish your lot had the decency to shoot me” As a member of Sinn Fein, she never went to Westminster to take her seat in Parliament.

In December 1918, Markievicz was elected in a General Election with a landslide majority. In the same election Christabel Pankhurst fell short by 775 votes. Markievicz is a largely unknown figure in British history, but is well known in Irish history.

Nancy Astor was the first female MP who actually sat in the House of Commons, as a Conservative.
She won a by-election in Plymouth in 1919 to replace her husband and then sat in the Commons for many years.

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