A Political Pioneer
American-born Nancy Astor (1879–1964), née Langhorne, succeeded her second husband Waldorf Astor as Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton in 1919, becoming the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. She continued to represent the Plymouth Sutton constituency until her retirement in 1945.
Challenging the male narrative in Parliament
The election of Nancy Astor as MP for Plymouth Sutton changed British democracy forever.
For the first time, here was a woman who was able to directly influence the parliamentary debate and the writing of the laws of their own land. A responsibility she willingly shouldered for all women.
Her courage and resilience in standing alone for almost 2 years in a hostile House established a platform on which women continue to build today. Her arrival in Parliament ushered in a new type of politician, a public woman, a new perspective and a reminder that there was a female electorate who increasingly demanded to be satisfied.