Patricia Ford, Lady Fisher
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|Patricia Ford, Lady Fisher|
|Member of Parliament
for North Down
15 April 1953 – 26 May 1955
|Preceded by||Walter Smiles|
|Succeeded by||George Currie|
5 April 1921
Donaghadee, County Down, Northern Ireland
|Died||23 May 1995
Chilton, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
|Political party||Ulster Unionist Party|
|Spouse(s)||Neville Ford (m.1941-56, divorced); 2 daughters
Sir Nigel Fisher(m.1956-95; her death)
Patricia Ford, Lady Fisher (née Smiles; 5 April 1921 – 23 May 1995), was briefly an Ulster Unionist Party politician in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. She was the first woman Member of Parliament from Northern Ireland, and the second woman to be returned to a seat in Westminster from a constituency in Ireland (the first to take her seat).
She was born at Donaghadee, County Down, and educated at Bangor Collegiate School, Glendower Preparatory School, London, and abroad. Her father was Ulster Unionist MP Sir Walter D. Smiles and her mother, Margaret Heigway.
Mrs Ford, as she then was, returned from living in Cheshire upon her father's death in the MV Princess Victoria disaster in January 1953 and was returned unopposed to Parliament from his North Down constituency. In her maiden speech to the House she was required to apologise for an article she had written in the Sunday Express in which she mentioned that Bessie Braddock and Edith Summerskill had been snoring whilst asleep in the lady members' room. The matter was referred to the Committee for Privileges.
Ford was a strong proponent of equal pay between the sexes and rode in a horse-drawn carriage to Parliament to draw attention to the matter. She retired at the 1955 general election. In 1972 she founded and was co-chairman of the Women Caring Trust, now Hope for Youth Northern Ireland. She was expelled from the Orange Order's women's section for attending a wedding at the Brompton Oratory.
In 1941, she married cricketer Neville Montagu Ford, son of the Very Rev. Lionel George Bridges Justice Ford and grandson of 4th Lord Lyttelton. They had two daughters: Sally, who married Sir Michael Grylls and whose son is explorer Bear Grylls, and Mary Rose, who is married and has two daughters.
Patricia Ford was divorced from her first husband and married Sir Nigel Fisher, MP, in 1956, acquiring the courtesy title of Lady Fisher and becoming stepmother to Mark Fisher, later a Labour Party MP.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Sir Walter Dorling Smiles
|Member of Parliament for North Down