While I have been remiss about keeping the blog as up to date as it ought to be (day job and the need to turn my attention to the forthcoming issue of the Journal – hint to contributors - interfering), there have been some very useful responses and comments on previous postings.
As to be expected, John Barnes has made points that are of interest to all of us. I shall pick up his response to the Churchill posting separately, as I should like to see a good discussion on the subject of that great man’s post-war premiership.
However, John has also written interestingly if all too briefly on the subject of Conservative women MPs. As I have said before, the autumn issue of the Journal will focus on women in the conservative movement, going back to the nineteenth century (and earlier, if anyone would wish to contribute on the subject) but certainly covering the enormous contribution women have made to the Conservative Party more recently.
Here are John Barnes’s comments on Conservative women MPs:
“I am struck by the fact that although 13 Conservative women were elected as MPs in 1931, they formed only 3 per cent of the party. Today 17 Conservative women MPs amount to 8 per cent of the party, a stable percentage figure for the last three elections.The second Conservative woman elected to the Commons was Mabel Philipson for Berwick-upon-Tweed (1923-29) and the Duchess of Atholl also entered the Commons in 1923. Obviously the Duchess is as famous as Nancy Astor and, unlike her, achieved office.I couldn't agree more with the point that we need to pay more attention to all these remarkable women. What else is the Conservative History Group for?
But does any one know anything of Mabel Philipson.The thirteen elected in 1931 include such formidable characters as Florence Horsburgh, Irene Ward, Mavis Tate, Thelma Cazalet and the Countess of Iveagh, and of course the Duchess of Atholl and Nancy Astor; but the remainder deserve documentation. They were Ida Copeland, Marjorie Graves, Mary Pickford, Norah Runge, Helen Shaw and Sally Ward.
Sally Ward, whom I knew when contesting Walsall North, lost her Cannock seat in 1935, but went on to have a career in local government, serving on the Staffordshire County Council, and becoming an Alderman. She was not very tall, but a feisty character and an excellent platform speaker. She was a farmer's wife, I believe. Perhaps others can and should document this early generation for the CHG. They deserve to be remembered.”