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The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain

Sarah Crook Orcid Logo

Contemporary British History, Volume: 34, Issue: 1, Pages: 71 - 94

Swansea University Author: Sarah Crook Orcid Logo

Abstract

Maureen Colquhoun (1928-) was the Tribunite Labour MP for Northampton North during the turbulent period of Labour government between 1974 and 1979. An avowed feminist, she praised the women’s liberation movement in parliament and introduced bills that brought feminist issues to parliamentary attenti...

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Published in: Contemporary British History
ISSN: 1361-9462 1743-7997
Published: Informa UK Limited 2020
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URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa50788
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first_indexed 2019-06-17T20:52:20Z
last_indexed 2020-08-22T03:13:30Z
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spelling 2020-08-21T18:35:26.9711429 v2 50788 2019-06-10 The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain b35484cf604604b6d6bc6873677417d1 0000-0002-1288-1488 Sarah Crook Sarah Crook true false 2019-06-10 AHIS Maureen Colquhoun (1928-) was the Tribunite Labour MP for Northampton North during the turbulent period of Labour government between 1974 and 1979. An avowed feminist, she praised the women’s liberation movement in parliament and introduced bills that brought feminist issues to parliamentary attention. Britain’s first openly lesbian MP, she was outed by the Daily Mail in 1976 and passionately defended her relationship and the rights of gay women. Her period in parliament was marred by personal and political scandal: after she appeared to show sympathy with Enoch Powell—a position that she quickly distanced herself from—her local constituency party sought to deselect her, triggering a fight that brought Colquhoun and her supporters before the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee. This article draws upon archival records, Colquhoun’s autobiography of her time in parliament, and newspapers to explore the fraught relationship between feminism, lesbian women and the Labour Party in the 1970s. Beyond this, this research treats parliament as a site of feminist activism, alongside and in dialogue with the grass-roots activities of the women’s liberation movement in this period. Journal Article Contemporary British History 34 1 71 94 Informa UK Limited 1361-9462 1743-7997 1970s; feminism; Labour Party 2 1 2020 2020-01-02 10.1080/13619462.2019.1624166 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2019.1624166 COLLEGE NANME History COLLEGE CODE AHIS Swansea University 2020-08-21T18:35:26.9711429 2019-06-10T15:35:09.6557963 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences School of Culture and Communication - History Sarah Crook 0000-0002-1288-1488 1 0050788-17062019162148.pdf 50788.pdf 2019-06-17T16:21:48.7370000 Output 172675 application/pdf Accepted Manuscript true 2020-12-10T00:00:00.0000000 true eng
title The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain
spellingShingle The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain
Sarah Crook
title_short The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain
title_full The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain
title_fullStr The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain
title_full_unstemmed The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain
title_sort The Labour Party, Feminism and Maureen Colquhoun's Scandals in 1970s Britain
author_id_str_mv b35484cf604604b6d6bc6873677417d1
author_id_fullname_str_mv b35484cf604604b6d6bc6873677417d1_***_Sarah Crook
author Sarah Crook
author2 Sarah Crook
format Journal article
container_title Contemporary British History
container_volume 34
container_issue 1
container_start_page 71
publishDate 2020
institution Swansea University
issn 1361-9462
1743-7997
doi_str_mv 10.1080/13619462.2019.1624166
publisher Informa UK Limited
college_str Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
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hierarchy_top_title Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
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hierarchy_parent_title Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
department_str School of Culture and Communication - History{{{_:::_}}}Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences{{{_:::_}}}School of Culture and Communication - History
url http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13619462.2019.1624166
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description Maureen Colquhoun (1928-) was the Tribunite Labour MP for Northampton North during the turbulent period of Labour government between 1974 and 1979. An avowed feminist, she praised the women’s liberation movement in parliament and introduced bills that brought feminist issues to parliamentary attention. Britain’s first openly lesbian MP, she was outed by the Daily Mail in 1976 and passionately defended her relationship and the rights of gay women. Her period in parliament was marred by personal and political scandal: after she appeared to show sympathy with Enoch Powell—a position that she quickly distanced herself from—her local constituency party sought to deselect her, triggering a fight that brought Colquhoun and her supporters before the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee. This article draws upon archival records, Colquhoun’s autobiography of her time in parliament, and newspapers to explore the fraught relationship between feminism, lesbian women and the Labour Party in the 1970s. Beyond this, this research treats parliament as a site of feminist activism, alongside and in dialogue with the grass-roots activities of the women’s liberation movement in this period.
published_date 2020-01-02T03:59:50Z
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