A bronze statue of Nancy Astor, the first woman MP to take up a seat in parliament, has been installed in Plymouth exactly a century after she was elected to represent the Devon city.
Theresa May unveiled the memorial, paid for through a crowdfunding campaign, on Plymouth Hoe outside Astor’s former home, watched by hundreds of schoolchildren and students.
May said Astor had to withstand the jeers and bawdy jokes of male colleagues – and the lack of female toilets – when she arrived in the Commons in 1919, but had paved the way for women MPs.
The former prime minister called for more women to play a part in public life and said she hoped there would be more statues of women. “We don’t have nearly enough monuments to the great women of our past,” she said. “I’m pleased we’re starting to put that right.”
Boris Johnson was in Devon on the campaign trail and went to view the statue after the unveiling ceremony – when the crowds had left.