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Women MPs in Brum

January 6, 2012

It occurred to me it might be interesting to look at which women have represented the people of Birmingham in Parliament.  Edith Wills was the first woman MP in the city serving from 5 July 1945.  It had always seemed to me that we had been well represented with a high proportion of our MPs being women.  It seems not.  Whilst that may have been true for a while, it seems they all served at the same time.  Only 10 women have been an MP in Birmingham.  Here they are:

Name Election date Party Constituency From to Years
Edith Wills 5 Jul 1945 Labour Duddeston 1945 1950


Dame Edith Pitt DBE    2 Jul 1953 Conservative Edgbaston 1953 1966


Dame Jill Knight, DBE    31 Mar 1966 Conservative Edgbaston 1966 1997


Mrs Doris Fisher 18 Jun 1970 Labour Ladywood 1970 1974


Miss Sheila Wright 3 May 1979 Labour Handsworth 1979 1983


Rt Hon Clare Short 9 Jun 1983 Labour (’06 – Ind Lab) Ladywood 1983 2010


Dr Lynne Jones 9 Apr 1992 Labour Selly Oak 1992 2010


Rt Hon Baroness Estelle Morris 9 Apr 1992 Labour Yardley 1992 2005


Ms Gisela Stewart 1 May 1997 Labour Edgbaston 1997 date


Shabana Mahmood 6 May 2010 Labour Ladywood 2010 date


Since 1945 there have been just two years when Brum had no women MPs (1951-52). For  1 (election) year, there were 5 women MPs and for the rest of 1992 to 2005 we had 4 women in office at a time. They were Jill, then Gisela alongside Clare, Estelle and Lynne.

The longest serving female MP in the city is Joan Christabel Knight, Baroness Knight of Collingtree, DBE (31 years) closely followed by Rt Hon Clare Short – 27 years.  Edgbaston has been served by women MPs continuously since 1953 – I wonder how many other constituencies in the land can claim the same. As of January 2012 there are two women serving.

A few held higher office:

  • Jill Knight, along with David Wilshire, was responsible for introducing the Section 28 amendment to the Local Government Act 1988, which barred local authorities from “promoting”homosexuality. She was also an opponent of abortion, and supported successive attempts to reduce the time-period when the operation could be legally performed.

More information about all these MPs (and the male ones too…) can be found at  All the dates information for this post came from here

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 16, 2012 7:09 pm

    An interesting article from Hen’s House today has taken a more thorough look at the paucity of women MPs in the UK> Thanks for the trackback – an interesting read.

  2. January 7, 2012 5:43 pm

    To my shame, I had never heard of Birmingham’s first woman MP: Edith Wills. From a bit of raking around on Google, it looks as though she came up through the Labour movement, being a tailor and trade union official. She was also a JP and was awarded an OBE in 1970. ( In 1948 she appears to have been very concerned about local health service provision in Birmingham: (Plus ca change?)

  3. Carol Coombes permalink
    January 6, 2012 10:51 pm

    bloomin good post Lady- I really thought we’d had more (tho actually would only have been able to name 6 if pushed) .. x

  4. January 6, 2012 10:33 pm

    I agree Julia – I was impressed with how our women get stuck in. If they didn’t hold higher office they were usually sticking their neck out for something they believed in. I daresay I may trip over other councillors who converted to MPs in other places – I’ll keep an eye out. I have now added all 10 MPs to the main Brimmin listing page.

  5. January 6, 2012 9:36 pm

    On the other hand I guess it is interesting that quite a few of these are women MPs who have had a high profile – which is maybe why it feels like more. I wonder if there are, also, any others like Edwina Curry (Not someone I would have voted for, but, let us say quite a character, and her own woman) who was a councillor for many years in Birmingham before she won a seat for Derbyshire.


  1. What’s the problem? Women in Politics « Hen's House

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