A SOMERSET MP backs a call to commemorate a Chard woman who was Britain’s first female cabinet minister with a portrait.

Sarah Dyke, the Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome, is backing a campaign to secure public recognition for Margaret Bondfield, a politician from Chard.

Sarah Dyke, Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome, said: “Westminster is awash with portraits of notable parliamentarians, the vast majority of them men, and Margaret Bondfield should absolutely be commemorated with a portrait of her own.

“As a female MP, I stand on the shoulders of the remarkable women who came before me, and the achievements of this Somerset-born trailblazer deserve to be celebrated.”

Bondfield was born and educated in Chard and became the first female cabinet minister when she was appointed Minister of Labour in 1929.

Chard & Ilminster News: Margaret BondfieldMargaret Bondfield (Image: Chard Museum)

A working-class socialist and trade unionist, Margaret Bondfield was elected to Parliament in the December 1923 General Election.

She had previously been the first woman to chair the TUC.

Despite her significant contribution to public life, Margaret Bondfield remains largely unknown.

The only statue of her is in Northampton, a town she represented, and there is no portrait of her in Westminster.

Chard Museum will join historian and researcher Sue Dockett on Thursday, January 25 in The Guildhall, to tell the story of Margaret Bondfield.

In January 1924 Margaret Bondfield became the first-ever female government minister so the initiative will mark the centenary of this event.

Historian and researcher Sue Dockett said: “What sets Margaret Bondfield out from most other women activists at the time was that she was working class.

“The Pankhursts and others were all middle-class women.

“Margaret approached women’s rights from a working-class perspective.

“Her story is an incredible one – a triumph of determination and courage over the outdated beliefs of her generation.”