Betty Boothroyd, who made political history in 1993 when she became the first woman Speaker of the House of Commons, has died aged 93.

Boothroyd, a working-class northerner from Yorkshire, had a remarkable and varied career as a Tiller Girls dancer, an MP for West Bromwich and serving as a baroness in the House of Lords.

Betty Boothroyd was born in 1929 in West Yorkshire to parents who worked in mills. She was close to her father who was a trade unionist.

Boothroyd was a charismatic and inspirational figure who shook over 700 years of Parliamentary traditions in 1993 when she became the first woman to take on the role of the Speaker.

She remains the only woman to have held the post of Speaker of the House of Commons, and she dared to take on the role without wearing the wig that goes with the job.

She held the position of Speaker from 1992 to 2000 while also serving as Labour MP for West Bromwich (later West Bromwich West when the seat was split into two) from 1973 to 2000.

In 2001 Boothroyd took a seat at the House of Lords.

Lindsay Hoyle, the current Speaker of the House of Commons, 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.

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

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

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer reiterated Hoyle’s tribute and said Boothroyd was an “incredible” woman.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described Boothroyd as “remarkable” and added: “The passion, wit and sense of fairness she brought to politics will not be forgotten.”

Following the announcement of Boothroyd’s death, the flags in Parliament were flown at half mast and the House of Commons held a minute’s silence ahead of tomorrow when MPs will offer up formal tributes.

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