This is the latest recipient to get a Blue Plaque in Sunderland for their devotion to the city

A plaque to a feminist icon and Sunderland’s first female MP has been unveiled.

Sunday, 15th September 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 16th September 2019, 10:31 am
Sunderland University lecturer of modern British history, Dr Sarah Hellawell, unveils blue plaque for Dr Marion Phillips, Sunderland's first woman MP. With Bridget Phillipson MP, Mayor David Snowdon and Mayoress Dianne Snowdon.

Before a 50-strong crowd, the tribute to Dr Marion Phillips was unveiled by Dr Sarah Hellawell, lecturer in modern British history at the University of Sunderland, who had campaigned for the honour.

The blue plaque now stands at 18 Foyle Street in the city centre, formerly the Labour Party’s committee rooms.

Also attending were Bridget Phillipson, MP for Houghton and Sunderland South and Mayor of Sunderland Coun David Snowdon with his wife and Mayoress Coun Dianne Snowdon.

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The blue plaque for Dr Marion Phillips Sunderland's first MP was unveiled at 18 Foyle Street, formerly Labour Party committee rooms.

Marion Phillips was a Labour politician who represented Sunderland as MP between 1929 and 1931. She was a feminist campaigner who fought passionately for reform.

She was born in Australia in 1881, but moved to the UK in 1904. After graduating from the London School of Economics, she worked on the Royal Commission for the Poor Laws.

In July 1928 Dr Phillips wrote to all women in Sunderland, stressing the importance of the 1929 General Election, in which she was returned as a member for Sunderland. As MP, she campaigned for Sunderland's working people: paid holidays, unemployment schemes and training for women.

However, along with all other female Labour MPs, she lost her seat at the General Election of 1931. She died just three months later following a short battle with stomach cancer.

Sunderland University lecturer, Dr Sarah Hellawell, unveils the blue plaque for Dr Marion Phillips, Sunderland's first woman MP.

Dr Hellawell said: “This is a tribute to her so people can remember the hard work she did on behalf of people from Sunderland. She was well liked by her constituents.

“Her maiden speech in parliament was about poverty in Sunderland. She worked had for her constituents even though she wasn’t from here.

“It’s very exciting. For years I’ve been researching women’s political activism and Marion Phillips has been a project of mine for the last year. It’s really nice to see this plaque in place.

“Hopefully people walking past will see it and stop and think.”

Sunderland University lecturer, Dr Sarah Hellawell, unveiled the blue plaque for Marion Phillips, Sunderland's first woman MP.

Ms Phillipson said: “It was an honour to be here today as part of the unveiling of the plaque to Dr Marion Phillips. I’m delighted that her contribution to Sunderland and to British politics has been recognised.”

Dr Marion Phillips, 1881-1932, was Sunderland's first female MP and a champion for women's rights.