WARRINGTON North MP Helen Jones is officially the 172nd female MP to be elected to the UK Parliament. 

With the election of Conservative Trudy Harrison in the recent by-election in Copeland, the total number of female MPs ever elected now exceeds the number of male MPs currently sitting in Parliament.

Mrs Jones has received her official number – it is 172, out of 458.

The first woman to be elected was Constance Markievicz in December 1918.

She was a Sinn Fein MP, who did not take her seat.

Nancy Astor became the first elected women to take her seat – elected in November 1919.

Mrs Jones said: “We still have much to do to encourage women to stand for Parliament.

“Although there has been considerable progress in the last 20 years, it has taken 100 years for the number of women ever elected to pass the number of male MPs sitting in any one Parliament.

“We must continue to encourage women to involve themselves in politics and stand for election at all levels.

“However, in doing so we need to recognise that wanting to stand does not mean that should open you up to being abused, threatened or accused of all sorts of misdemeanours as currently happens to women politicians, often anonymously, on social media.

“That kind of behaviour is unacceptable and puts many women off seeking to serve their communities.

“The cowardly trolls, who engage in this behaviour, not only demean themselves but also serve to damage our democracy.

“I hope and believe that the number of women being elected will increase and that people will engage them in political debate rather than the type of vile personal campaigns that have been orchestrated against many of my colleagues currently serving in Parliament.”