Who was the first British woman appointed as a government minister?

MARGARET BONDFIELD 1873 – 1953

After a life-time of political and trades union activism, Margaret Bondfield first stood for parliament at the start of a politically tumultuous decade at a by-election in Northampton in 1920.

She lost in 1920 and lost again in the General Election of 1922.

She won the seat in 1923, one of the first three women Labour MPs, and became the Parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Labour, Tom Shaw.

In a further General Election in 1924, Margaret lost the Northampton seat again.

In 1926, Margaret won a by-election at Wallsend and returned to parliament and in the General Election of 1929, she retained the Wallsend seat.

She was invited to join the Cabinet by Prime Minister Ramsey Macdonald as Minister of Labour and she became a Privy Counsellor; the first woman to be either a cabinet minister or a Privy Counsellor.

However in the 1931 General Election Margaret lost her Wallsend seat.

She continued to be an activist in the Labour and Trades union movements for the remainder of her life although she never sought a parliamentary seat again.

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