Constance Markievicz to be formally recognised as Westminster’s first female MP

Fiona Heavey

Reporter:

Fiona Heavey

Constance Markievicz to be formally recognised as Westminster’s first female MP

Constance Markievicz

Britain will formally recognise the first female MP elected to Westminster when the Irish Vótáil 100 committee presents a portrait of Countess Constance Markievicz to the speaker of the House of Commons.

The committee, organised to mark the 100th anniversary of women in 1918 gaining the right to vote, travels to London today, July 18 to make the presentation.

Chairwoman of the committee, Labour Seanad group leader Ivana Bacik, said it would be a “historic occasion” when the portrait of the abstentionst MP is presented to John Bercow.

“It is the first time that Ms Markievicz will have been formally recognised by the Houses of Parliament in Westminster as the first woman elected as a Member of Parliament in Britain,” she said.

Markievicz became the first female MP (and subsequently TD) when she was elected by voters in the Dublin St Patrick’s constituency in the historic December 1918 British general election.

She also became one of the first female cabinet ministers in the world and was minister for labour in the governments set up by the Dáil between 1919 and 1922.

Like all Sinn Féin MPs she was elected on an abstentionist platform and never took her seat in the House of Commons. She was in Holloway Prison at the time of her election.

Ms Bacik also highlighted the launch on Thursday of an exhibition entitled “Votes for Women: Suffrage and Citizenship” organised in conjunction with the National Museum and the Sheehy Skeffington family. Hannah Sheehy Skeffington was a suffragette and campaigner for the vote in early 20th century.

Also read: A Terrible Beauty - 1916 radio documentary