Mourners gather to farewell ´remarkable´ and ´inspirational´ Betty Boothroyd

Mourners gather to farewell ´remarkable´ and ´inspirational´ Betty Boothroyd

Mourners gather to farewell ´remarkable´ and ´inspirational´ Betty Boothroyd. Image: Twitter/SirLindsayHoyle

Rishi Sunak leads tributes to Baroness Betty Boothroyd as mourners gather today at St George’s Church, Thriplownear, near her home in Cambridgeshire,  to farewell the 93-year-old only female speaker of the House of Commons, according to the Daily Mail.

Baroness Boothroyd, an MP for 27 years before sitting in the Lords for Labour for a further two decades, broke with more than 700 years of parliamentary tradition when she was elected Commons speaker in April 1992.She held the position until 2000 and was both respected and liked by both sides of the house. According to one British admirer, she was very good at handling boisterous MPs.

Four pallbearers carried her coffin, topped with a white floral tribute, into the church as organ music could be heard,

‘Ladies and gentlemen, would you please stand,’ the vicar was heard telling the congregation inside as the private service began at noon.

Flags were flown at half-mast in Westminster following the news of her passing last month, while MPs took part in a minute’s silence in the Commons at the start of business.

Following her death in February, Labour leader Mr Starmer said: ‘Betty Boothroyd was an incredible and inspirational woman.

‘As Speaker, she was at the forefront of a generation that smashed the glass ceiling for female politicians. She made the role her own, with a wit and style that will never be replicated.’

Mr Sunak hailed the passing of ‘a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to politics’, while Theresa May praised her ‘inimitable style, but also her immense personal warmth and kindness’.

Speaking outside the funeral service earlier today, Neil Rowland-Hall, 68, treasurer at St George’s Church, said: ‘She was very popular and she was always very friendly to everybody.”

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