WOMEN’S minister Penny Mordaunt has backed a campaign to stop the statue of suffragette hero Emmeline Pankhurst being removed from outside the Houses of Parliament.
The figure of the women’s votes pioneer has stood in Victoria Tower Gardens since 1930, but plans emerged earlier this month to move it to a private collection at Regent’s University three miles away.
Yesterday Portsmouth North MP Ms Mordaunt became the first cabinet minister to intervene in the row in a bid to keep the statue facing Parliament.
She told The Sun: ‘It has taken 100 years to get a statue of a woman in Parliament Square, and a woman who did so much of a service to Britain's democracy.
‘It would be a disservice to the cause Pankhurst fought for, to women who shaped our nation at last getting the recognition they deserve and the artwork itself, to move the statue from this prominent position.’
The plans to relocate the statue, which was funded by suffragettes in the 1920s and unveiled by then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin in 1930, have been led by the Emmeline Pankhurst Trust.
Earlier this year, Portsmouth gathered to remember the life of the city’s own suffrage hero, Hertha Ayrton.
The engineer, mathematician, physicist and inventor played a pivotal role in the suffrage movement and worked closely with Emmeline Pankhurst.