BRITISH POLITICIAN Matt Hancock has been accused of erasing Ireland’s role in a crucial chapter in the history of the UK Parliament.
The Conservative MP sparked anger after taking to Twitter to celebrate the achievements of Nancy Astor who, according to Hancock, was the first woman to be elected to Parliament in the UK.
The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care wrote: "100 years ago today, the first female MP, Nancy Astor, was elected to [Parliament].
"The female Conservative candidates standing in this election are exceptional & I look forward to working with them in [Parliament] to achieve further progress on gender equality across our society."
100 years ago today, the first female MP, Nancy Astor, was elected to Parlt. The female @Conservatives candidates standing in this election are exceptional & I look forward to working with them in Parlt to achieve further progress on gender equality across our society.
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) November 28, 2019
However, Hancock soon found himself admonished and accused of “writing the Irish out of history” for seemingly ignoring Constance Markievicz.
Markievicz was, in fact, the first women to be elected to the Westminster Parliament with the Sinn Fein ultimately refusing to take her seat.
"Correction: In 1918, Constance Markievicz was the first woman elected to the House Of Commons,” one user wrote.
"As an Irish nationalist she refused to take her seat. In 1919, Sinn Féin set up the Revolutionary Dáil – where the Countess was appointed Minister for Labour."
"She wasn't the first woman elected to Parliament, that was Constance Markievicz,” another added. “Stop writing the Irish out of history."
A third concurred: "Not quite right. Astor was the first to take her seat at Westminster. Constance Markievicz was the first to be elected in the 1918 General Election.
“She instead choose to sit in the First Dáil Éireann in Dublin. She was also the first woman to hold a Cabinet Minister's position.”
Constance Markievicz (Sinn Fein) was the first woman elected to parliament, but didn't take her seat. Nancy Astor (Conservative) was the first woman to sit as an MP. https://t.co/1VLcAaG3uV
— C4 News FactCheck (@FactCheck) November 28, 2019
“The first female MP, Markievicz - was Irish,” a fourth said.
“She was also the first female cabinet member in Europe - having been elected the Minister for Labour. Behold Matt Hancock, the product of a British Education.”
Except she wasn't the first female MP. That was Constance Markievicz, elected in 1918 for Sinn Fein.
— WritersFrock 💚 (@WritersFrock) November 28, 2019
A fifth, meanwhile, summed up the tweet thusly: “The Tories don't do so well when it comes to fact checking.”
It has also been noted that Ms Astor actually inherited her seat from her husband, a Tory MP from a family of press barons, who vacated it after inheriting his father’s peerage in the House of Lords.
The tweet remains in place and Hancock has yet to respond to the criticism or inaccuracies highlighted.