Tribute is unveiled to Normanton born political pioneer Alice Bacon

The unveiling of a blue plaque for MP Alice Bacon at the Corn Exchange in Leeds. L-R Jane Taylor, Chair of Leeds Civic Trust , Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council , Rachel Reeves MP and Cristina Lesto-Bandeira from the University of Leeds School of Politics.
The unveiling of a blue plaque for MP Alice Bacon at the Corn Exchange in Leeds. L-R Jane Taylor, Chair of Leeds Civic Trust , Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council , Rachel Reeves MP and Cristina Lesto-Bandeira from the University of Leeds School of Politics.

Normanton born and Yorkshire’s first female MP Baroness Alice Bacon has been chosen as the latest signigicant local figure to be recognised with a Leeds Civic Trust blue plaque.

It was unveiled yesterday at the Corn Exchange in Leeds city centre where she used to hold her constituency surgeries.

Leeds' first female MP Alice Bacon

Leeds' first female MP Alice Bacon

Doing the honours at the ceremony was Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, Baroness Bacon’s biographer and the city’s second woman MP.

READ: Parents ‘devastated’ after government insists Wakefield primary school becomes academy

Ms Reeves said: “We are marking an important anniversary in the battle for women’s political equality.

“Alice Bacon was born into a world where women were unable to vote, yet went on to become Yorkshire’s first female MP, elected to the constituency of Leeds North East in 1945 and serving as an MP for 25 years including as a minister in Harold Wilson’s government.

|

|

“As only the second woman to represent a Leeds constituency in the House of Commons, I am honoured to unveil a plaque to commemorate her life and work.”

READ: Wanted: Your big ideas for Wakefield city centre improvement

Leeds Civic Trust director Martin Hamilton said: “Leeds has produced its fair share of prominent politicians, many attaining very high office and some remembered by the blue plaques scheme, but in Alice Bacon we are able to celebrate a trailblazer.”

Baroness Bacon, a miner’s daughter from Normanton, initially represented Leeds North East and then Leeds South East as a Labour MP between 1945 and 1970.

She became a minister of state at the Home Office when Labour re-entered government in 1964.

READ: Have your say on plans for 26,000 homes across Wakefield district

A powerful speaker who helped create the welfare state and played a key role in the introduction of comprehensive schools, she was made a life peer in 1970.

Baroness Bacon was hailed as a towering figure in the British Labour movement following her death in 1993 aged 83.