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Published on Aug 21, 2017
Women's History Month Talk 2017
‘Alice Bacon – Labour’s Forgotten Reformer’ by Rachel Reeves MP
From her roots as a miner’s daughter in Normanton, Alice Bacon went on to become a political pioneer. The first woman to represent the city of Leeds in Parliament (and joint first in all of Yorkshire) she played a pivotal role in many of the key political struggles of post-war Britain – as a close ally of Hugh Gaitskell in the left/right battles of the 1950s; as Roy Jenkins’ deputy at the Home Office, during which she time she was key to the passage of the unparalleled liberal reforms of the 1960s, and as the minister responsible for schools, allowing her to drive through her lifelong dream of a comprehensive education system. Though few people know her name, the country would be a very different place without Alice’s influence, which was more often felt behind the scenes than in the spotlight. With this lecture, Rachel Reeves hopes to go some way to ensuring that this forgotten Labour hero is remembered and celebrated, as one of the heroes of the post-war history of her party and her country.
Rachel Reeves is MP for Leeds West and author of Alice in Westminster: The Political Life of Alice Bacon (Publ LB Tauris 2016)