Barbara Castle

Barbara Castle, who served the people of Blackburn in parliament for over thirty years, was described upon her death in 2002 as “one of the most remarkable women politicians of the last century”.

She was elected as MP for Blackburn on 5 July 1945 and built a reputation for herself as a conscientious, hard-working, tenacious back-bencher. It wasn’t until Harold Wilson was elected in 1964 that she gained ministerial responsibility, first at Overseas Development as only the fourth woman in history to sit at the Cabinet table. She then served as Secretary of State for Transport, introducing the breathalyser, 70mph speed limit on motorways, and legislation requiring all cars to be fitted with seatbelts. She then served as Secretary for Employment and Productivity and First Secretary of State from 1968-1970.

Barbara Castle was MP for Blackburn from 1945-1979.

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Obituaries and tributes