Raising a glass to Baroness Bacon: Beer goes on tap in Parliament to celebrate Yorkshire's first female MP

The launch of the Baroness Bacon Beer in the House of Commons' Strangers Bar.
The launch of the Baroness Bacon Beer in the House of Commons' Strangers Bar.

Glasses have been raised in parliament in honour of Yorkshire’s first female MP.

Pints were pulled to celebrate the life Alice Bacon, who became MP for Leeds North East in 1945, as a beer brewed to mark her legacy went on tap in the Strangers Bar in the House of Commons today.

Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, who in 2016 wrote a book about Alice’s political career, helped to secure the Baroness Bacon Beer, created by Wakefield’s Five Towns Brewery, as a guest ale in the bar for a for a week.

She said: “Alice Bacon was a pioneer. She was born into a world where women were unable to vote, yet went on to become Yorkshire’s first female MP and a high-profile minister under Harold Wilson, spearheading the introduction of comprehensive schooling.

“I’m delighted that we can now celebrate her legacy in the Commons where she made such a difference with a glass of Yorkshire-brewed Baroness Bacon Beer and help a new generation learn about her fantastic work.

“As we mark the centenary since the first British women won the right to vote, it’s more important than ever we remember the achievements of Alice and how she helped changed forever the male-dominated world of Westminster.”

Ms Reeves was joined by Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, Pontefract, Castleford and Normanton MP Yvette Cooper and members of The Forgotten Women of Wakefield project, who have been researching and telling the story of Alice, as well as the tales of other inspirational women in the city.

The Baroness Bacon Beer was first launched on international Women's Day, when the group also unveiled a blue plaque for Alice.

As it went on tap in Westminster, Sarah Cobham, who has been leading the project, said she was "proud of the concept, of the beer, of the design, proud of the passion, the commitment, the recognition and proud proud proud of Alice".

The political career of Normanton-born Alice, the daughter of a miner, saw her serve as a Minister of State at both the Home Office and the Department of Education and Science, where she was a powerful force in the introduction of comprehensive education, the legalisation of abortion, the scrapping of the death penalty and the decriminalisation of homosexuality.