Boothroyd is a popular figure in Westminster

Betty Boothroyd, first and only female commons Speaker, dies aged 93

Baroness Betty Boothroyd, the first and only woman to serve as speaker of the House of Commons, has died aged 93.

She was the Labour MP for West Bromwich for 27 years and served as speaker of the House from 1992-2000.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has led tributes to his predecessor in the role. He said “Not only was Betty Boothroyd an inspiring woman, but she was also an inspirational politician, and someone I was proud to call my friend”.

He added: “To be the first woman Speaker was truly ground-breaking and Betty certainly broke that glass ceiling with panache.

“She was from Yorkshire, and I am from Lancashire – so there was always that friendly rivalry between us. But from my point of view, it was heartening to hear a Northern voice speaking from the Chair.

“She stuck by the rules, had a no-nonsense style, but any reprimands she did issue were done with good humour and charm.

“Betty was one of a kind. A sharp, witty and formidable woman – and I will miss her”.

Baroness Boothroyd became an MP at the fifth attempt in 1973, securing the seat of West Bromwich for the Labour Party. She won the contest with a majority of more than 8,000 votes.

She went on to become an assistant government whip for the Labour Party and in 1975 she was elected a member of the European Parliament, becoming known as a vocal advocate of the common market.

The Labour MP was elected as deputy Speaker of the Commons in 1987, a position she would hold until 1992 when Speaker Bernard Weatherill announced he was stepping down.

Baroness Boothroyd’s election as Speaker was contested by Conservative MP John Brooke, but she won a vote by 372 votes to 238.

To this day, she remains the only female Speaker of the House of Commons.