List of electoral firsts in the United Kingdom

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This article lists notable achievements of women, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBT people in British Politics.


Women over 30 granted the right to vote: 1918

Women granted the right to vote on the same terms as men: 1928

First female MPs:

Due to the abstentionist policy of Sinn Féin, Markievicz never took her seat in Westminster.

First female cabinet minister

First female Government Whip

First female prime minister

First female leader of the House of Lords

First female speaker in the House of Commons

First female leader of the House of Commons

First female speaker in the House of Lords

Blind persons[edit]

First blind MP

First blind Cabinet member

Persons in a wheelchair[edit]

First MP in a wheelchair

  • Arthur MacMorrough Kavanagh, Conservative MP for County Wexford (1866–1868) and for County Carlow (1868–1880). MacMurrough Kavanagh (who had been born with partially formed arms and legs) was given dispensation to be accompanied in the Commons Chamber by a servant who helped place him on the benches.

First female MP in a wheelchair

Black Britons[edit]

First black MPs:

-All elected in the 1987 election

First black woman MP

British Chinese[edit]

First Chinese Member of the Legislative Assembly of Northern Ireland

First Chinese MP

Czech Britons[edit]

First Czech-born MP

Polish Britons[edit]

First Polish-born MP

South Asians[edit]

  • Note: South Asians include those of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Nepalese or Bangladeshi ancestry.

First South Asian MP

First South Asian Cabinet member

First South Asian Member of the Welsh Assembly

First South Asian Member of the Scottish Parliament


First Jewish MP

First Jewish speaker in the House of Commons

LGBT people[edit]

First openly gay MP: Chris Smith, Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury, from 1983 to 2005 [13]
First openly bisexual MP: Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, from 1983 - 2015 (came out in 2006)

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Famous female firsts
  2. ^ Mastermind (1984 ed.). Treasure Press. p. 340. 
  3. ^ Fawcett then sat as MP for Hackney until his death in 1884. Subsequent blind MPs have included William Tindal Robertson, a Conservative who succeeded Fawcett as MP for Brighton, from 1874 to his death in 1889; William Macdonald, MP for Ossory from 1886 to 1892; and Ian Fraser, Conservative MP for St Pancras North from 1924 to 1929 then from 1931 to 1934, then MP for Lonsdale from 1940 to 1958, before becoming a member of the House of Lords.
  4. ^ a b "Your first mistake", The Guardian, 20 July 2006
  5. ^ "Labour MP Anne Begg made a dame in New Year Honours", BBC News, 31 December 2010
  6. ^ Rose, Damon. "Dame Anne Begg: 'What do I do now?'". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  7. ^ Fanfare for a forgotten MP: Nicholas Timmins recalls the election to the Commons of a man of many 'firsts' The Independent NICHOLAS TIMMINS Saturday, 25 July 1992
  8. ^ First ethnic minority AM elected
  9. ^ Scotland's first Muslim MSP dies
  10. ^ First Asian MSP goes to Holyrood
  11. ^ Jewish Community
  12. ^ New Jewish ministers and the Miliband rivalry - The Jewish Chronicle
  13. ^ Campbell, Dennis (30 January 2005). "The pioneer who changed gay lives". The Observer. Retrieved 2008-09-28.