Florence Beatrice Paton
(1 June 1891 â€“ 12 October 1976), nÃ©e
Widdowson, was a Labour
Party politician in the United Kingdom, and a Member of
Parliament (MP) from 1945 to 1950.
born in Taunton, Somerset, where her
father was a railway guard. The family moved to Wolverhampton, where she later became a schoolteacher.
lay preacher, she was initially
, but joined the
Independent Labour Party
(ILP) in 1917.
maiden name of Florence Widdowson, she first stood for Parliament at the Cheltenham by-election in 1928,
and at the 1929
general election, she contested the Rushcliffe constituency in Nottinghamshire.
After her marriage in 1930 to the future
Labour MP John Paton
stood again in Rushcliffe in 1931
. When the ILP
split from Labour in 1932, John and Florence Paton stayed with the
ILP. They left the following year, and rejoined the Labour Party,
but by then the Ruschcliffe Constituency Labour Party
selected H.J. Cadogan as its prospective parliamentary
. She was reselected as candidate only after Cadogan
had been defeated in the 1934 by-election
and at the
She won the Rushcliffe seat at the 1945 general election
but after boundary changes in 1950, she stood at the 1950 general election
in the new Carlton
She lost by only 395 votes to the Conservative Party
, and although she stood again in 1951
increased his majority on each occasion.
At the start of the 1946-47 session of Parliament, she was
nominated by the Speaker
Chairmen's Panel of Members to act as temporary chairmen of
committees of the whole House and chairmen of standing committees.
supply day debate on Scottish civil aviation estimates on 31 May
1948, she became the first woman to preside over the whole House of
She did not, however, sit in the Speaker's
When the House is in committee, the chairman sits at the table,
rather than in the Speaker's Chair; the first woman to occupy the
Speaker's Chair was the Conservative Party
MP Betty Harvie Anderson
on 2 July 1970
, who took
took the Chair during the debate on the Queen's Speech..
In 1947, she was a British delegate to the United Nations
From 1955 to 1958, Paton was a member of the Royal Commission
on common land
She died in Wolverhampton on 12 October
. Her husband John
, who had held his
parliamentary seat until 1966, died two months later.