Biteback Publishing is delighted to announce a major new project: a two-volume series of biographies of every female MP ever to be elected to the House of Commons.

On 14 December 1918, Countess Markievicz became the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons. She was elected for Sinn Féin, but never took her seat. Eleven months later, Nancy, Lady Astor, became the first woman to be elected and to take her seat. One hundred years later, 454 other women followed in their stead.

The book’s co-editors, Biteback’s publisher Iain Dale and former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, are commissioning biographical essays on each of the 456 ‘Honourable Ladies’. Each of the contributors will be female.

Volume I will contain profiles of the 169 female MPs to sit in the House of Commons between 1918 and 1997 and will be published in hardback in November 2018.

Volume II will contain profiles of the 287 female MPs first elected between 1997 and 2019 and will be published in November 2019.

Iain Dale said: “This is a major project for a major centenary, but it’s exactly the kind of book Biteback excels in. Each of the 456 women has a fascinating story to tell and this book enables them to tell it through the eyes of a contemporary female voice. Many contributors are current female MPs themselves, while others are journalists, academics and historians. Jacqui and I are delighted to be working together again on this important initiative.”

Jacqui Smith said: “The women who made it into Parliament during these years showed considerable grit and energy.  That’s what they share, but there are also a whole range of histories, backgrounds and events to explore which make this such an exciting project.  I’m really looking forward to seeing their stories told by other women – many of whom followed in their footsteps.”