Rachel Reeves launched her book recently and on the evening she will talk about how women have changed politics as well as pick out the famous and not-so-famous female MPs who should be celebrated for their work in Parliament

A PROMINENT MP who has researched and written about her female forbears in Parliament will visit the University of Huddersfield to speak about and discuss her new book, at a free public event on Thursday 21 March – 5.30-7.30pm.

Newly-published is The Women of Westminster, by Rachel Reeves, who has been Labour MP for Leeds West since 2010.  Her front bench roles have included Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.  She currently chairs the influential Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee.

The book features interviews with contemporary politicians including Prime Minister Theresa May and Labour’s Dianne Abbot.  But its starting point is 1919, when Nancy Astor became the first female to take her seat in the House of Commons, just a year after women had become entitled to vote.

In addition to describing the careers of famous figures such as Margaret Thatcher and Shirley Williams, The Women of Westminster also brings many forgotten female MPs out of the shadows.  An earlier book by Rachel Reeves was Alice in Westminster, which described the life and political career of the formidable Alice Bacon, who was a Labour MP for Leeds from 1945 to 1970.

Rachel Reeves has been a frequent visitor to the University of Huddersfield, where she regularly speaks to politics students.  She has a passion for encouraging young people to become engaged in politics, said Dr Andy Mycock, who lectures in the subject.  Two recent Huddersfield graduates are currently working in the office of the MP.

The Women of Westminster event, at the University’s Oastler Building on 21 March (5.30-7.30pm) is free, but places can be registered online.

The book by Rachel Reeves received its launch in Parliament, at an event attended by Speaker John Bercow, who paid tribute to the author’s “intelligence and eloquence”.

Rachel Reeves herself has written that: “There is no doubt that having more women in Parliament has transformed politics.  Reforms have included widows’ pensions, family allowances, child benefit, equal pay and tougher penalties for domestic violence to name only a few milestones.  But women have done more than that.  More women in Parliament have changed the way we actually do politics.”