- Luke Pollard MP spoke at an event honouring Nancy Astor, a Plymouth MP in 1919
- Luke praised Nancy Astor for paving the way for equality in politics
- Luke introduced Dr. Jacqui Turner who has worked with him on his campaign to create a statue of Nancy Astor in Plymouth
At an International Women’s Day event in Parliament on 12 March, Luke Pollard MP spoke about Plymouth’s former MP and the first female MP to ever take her seat in Parliament, Nancy Astor.
Nancy Astor was elected in 1919 to represent Plymouth Sutton as the first woman in Parliament. Luke introduced Jacqui Turner, an expert on Nancy Astor who has worked with Luke when he started the campaign to honour Nancy Astor’s contribution to Plymouth and to women with a statue.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“A century on from Nancy Astor we’re still not at 50/50 representation in Parliament. We’re not at 50/50 representation in local councils. There’s still much work to be done. As a Parliament and a society, the role of women, the experience of women, and the voice of women is still heard too little in Parliament in Westminster and across all our constituencies.
Women’s issues are our issues, women’s history is our history, and we need to speak loudly and proudly about the contribution of Plymouth women and all women to our politics. Nancy Astor entered a male-dominated arena in Westminster and she broke the glass ceiling for women in politics.
Society has progressed significantly since Nancy Astor’s time, but there is still work to be done. Parliament currently has 209 female MPs. Women make up 45% of Labour and 21% of the Conservative party. Westminster should represent a plurality of views, races, backgrounds, and perspectives because that is the proper way to govern. “
Luke concluded his statements at this event by voicing his hope for 50/50 representation in Parliament in the future. Nancy Astor remains an important figure in Plymouth history. Luke will continue his campaign to honour her contribution to politics with a statue in Plymouth.
Dr. Jacqui Turner spoke at the event to give an academic perspective on Nancy Astor and her political career. Luke also thanked the Plymouth Women in Business for fundraising towards the proposed statue.