Ellen Wilkinson

Jack Lawson (5th from left) and Ellen Wilkinson (2nd from left) with Durham county MPs and George Lansbury (far left)

Parliamentary Archives, PIC/P/328

Ellen Wilkinson, MP for Middlesborough East (1924-1931) and Jarrow (1935-1947) was an active spokesperson for women’s interests and issues, speaking passionately in favour of an equal franchise and equal pay. During her long Parliamentary career she became Minister for Education, making her the second woman to achieve a position in the British cabinet. This section of the case study explores her life and career in Parliament.

Early life

What was Ellen Wilkinson's early life like? How did her background influence her later political career?

Entry into politics

How did Ellen Wilkinson become involved in politics?

Election to Parliament

When did Ellen Wilkinson get elected to Parliament?

Early Parliamentary career, 1924-1929

What issues did Ellen Wilkinson speak out about in Parliament?

Out of power, 1931-1935

Ellen Wilkinson lost her seat at Parliament in 1931. What did she do when not in power?

MP for Jarrow, 1935-1947

When was Wilkinson re-elected to Parliament? What did she achieve in her later career?

The Jarrow Crusade

What was the Jarrow Crusade? How was Ellen Wilkinson involved?

Later career

What was the later part of Ellen Wilkinson's life and Parliamentary career like?

Related information

The De Montfort Project is an outreach project run by the Parliamentary Archives which explores the life and impact of local MPs and Peers on both their local area and at Parliament.

Related information

Biographies of Ellen Wilkinson, Jack Lawson, Earl Grey and Joseph Cowen can be found on the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.