Theresa May has unveiled a statue to honour a Nazi-sympathising anti-Semite, anti-Catholic MP.
The bronze statue of Nancy Astor was erected on Thursday in Plymouth, Devon, a century after she became the first female MP to take up her seat in Parliament.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted about the statue: “When Nancy Astor became the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons, our country and our democracy were changed for the better. I was proud to unveil the @LadyAstorStatue on the centenary of her election #Astor100”.
In the build up to the Second World War, Astor was in favour of the appeasement of Germany. In a letter to US Ambassador to Britain Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., she said that Hitler might be the solution to the “world problem” of Jews.
Astor also wrote to Kennedy saying that Hitler would have to do more than just "give a rough time" to "the killers of Christ" before she would support an "Armageddon to save them. The wheel of history swings round as the Lord would have it. Who are we to stand in the way of the future?”
In 1939 she was dubbed “the Member for Berlin”, by the MP Stafford Cripps during a Parliamentary debate about training of the military – a reference to her perceived attitude towards Germany at the time of the Third Reich.
The Tablet magazine notes Astor’s “rabid anti-Catholicism”. During the war she made a speech saying that a Catholic conspiracy was subverting the foreign office. Astor also had strong anti-Communist beliefs.
Astor was not actually the first woman to win a British election. Constance Markievticz was elected in 1919, but did not take up her seat as she was a member of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Féin, which abstains from the Westminster Parliament.