Baroness Boothroyd

– in the House of Commons at on 27 February 2023.

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Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, House of Commons Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Conference Committee, Chair, Speaker's Conference Committee, Chair, Restoration and Renewal Client Board Committee, Chair, Restoration and Renewal Client Board Committee

I have the sad duty to inform the House of the death of Baroness Boothroyd, Speaker of the House from 1992 until 2000. I know all Members will wish to join me in expressing our deep sadness on the loss of this groundbreaking parliamentarian. She was a dedicated and illustrious servant of this House. We send our condolences to her family and to her many friends.

Not only was Betty Boothroyd an inspiring woman; she was also an inspirational politician and someone I was proud to call my friend. When she was first elected as the Member for West Bromwich in 1973, there were fewer than 30 women MPs; when she was elected Speaker, 19 years later, women still made up less than 10% of the total of all MPs. To be the first woman Speaker was truly groundbreaking, and Betty certainly broke the glass ceiling with panache.

The sad part is that she was from Yorkshire—I am from Lancashire, so there was always a friendly rivalry between us, but from my point of view it was heartening to hear a northern voice speaking from the Chair. She stood by the rules and had a no-nonsense style, but any reprimands were issued with good humour and charm. Betty was one of a kind, and she was a sharp, witty, formidable woman. I will miss her.

I know Members will wish to pay tribute to her, and there will be an opportunity to do so tomorrow. In the meantime, I invite all Members to join me in a minute’s silence to remember, with respect and affection, a great servant of this House, Betty Boothroyd.

A one-minute silence was observed.