A Conservative Minister, whose great aunt was Mabel Philipson, the first female MP for Berwick, has visited the constituency to lend his support to Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s bid to become the second.
George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences, was in the constituency last Wednesday, calling in at Lynemouth Power Station and QuestUAV in Amble, before giving a talk in Berwick Town Hall about his ancestor, who was the third woman to become an MP and, up to now, the only female MP for Berwick, serving from 1923 to 1929.
The subsequent 86-year domination of the seat by men could come to an end on May 7, with Tory Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Lib Dem Julie Pörksen the front-runners in the polls at this stage.
During the talk, MR Freeman explained how the indomitable Mabel Philipson took over the Berwick seat from her husband, and his great uncle, Hilton Philipson, who had been MP since just 1922.
He said: “She decided to take on the Liberal establishment, and was elected, shortly after Nancy Astor, becoming the third woman elected as an MP and the first Conservative woman MP.
“She served two terms as a doughty campaigner for disability and was a pioneer for children’s rights before retiring to look after her disabled son.”
Speaking in support of Anne-Marie Trevelyan, he said; “I very much hope Anne-Marie Trevelyan is elected on May 7 and joins me in the House Of Commons; I see that indomitable Mabel Philipson spirit in Anne-Marie Trevelyan and believe that she will achieve a lot for the area.”
Mr Freeman’s illustrious political ancestry also includes William Gladstone, who was the great uncle of his maternal grandmother.
He spoke of what he described as the philisophical connection between true liberalism and the Conservative Party and of the non-conformist, Gladstonian-style tradition which he sees existing in places like Berwick and in his own constituency in Norfolk.
Mrs Trevelyan said: “It was fantastic to have George Freeman come to Berwick to talk about his great aunt Mabel Philipson and hear his views on that core Conservative principle of personal responsibility.”
Mr Freeman is continuing to research the life of Mabel Philipson and is seeking local help identifying the individuals in the attached photo which he believes was taken in Berwick itself. If you can help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
l Anne-Marie Trevelyan has said that, if elected, she will push for the creation of a Government Minister dedicated to addressing issues affecting the over 65s.
She said: “It is a role which needs to be able to cross departmental silos to maximise outcomes for our rapidly ageing population and it is vital the Government is committed to joined-up thinking for this growing sector of our society.”