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Mourners to gather for funeral of first female Commons speaker Betty Boothroyd

Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer are expected to attend the service in Cambridgeshire.

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Betty Boothroyd

Mourners will gather on Wednesday for the funeral of Baroness Betty Boothroyd, the only woman so far to be elected speaker of the House of Commons.

Politicians will be among those paying their last respects at the service near her home in Cambridgeshire.

Lady Boothroyd, a former Labour MP, died last month at the age of 93.

She shattered more than 700 years of parliamentary tradition when she became the first woman to be elected speaker in April 1992, staying on until October 2000.

Betty Boothroyd death
Baroness Boothroyd campaigning in the Nelson and Colne by-election in 1968 (PA File)

She then entered the Lords as a crossbench peer in January 2001.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer are expected to attend the funeral, with their deputies standing in at the dispatch box for Prime Minister’s Questions at noon.

Current Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle described Lady Boothroyd as “one of a kind” after her death, as tributes poured in from MPs from across the political spectrum.

Born to mill worker parents in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, in 1929, Lady Boothroyd was a professional dancer from 1946 to 1948 and appeared in pantomime in London’s West End before going into politics.

She unsuccessfully contested four parliamentary seats before being elected to West Bromwich (later to become West Bromwich West) in May 1973.

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