On October 8 of 1929, in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, Betty Boothroyd was born. The daughter of textile workers, she attended the local council schools and then the Dewsbury College of Art and Commerce. From 1946 to 1948 she worked as a professional dancer as a part of the now-famous Tiller Girls troupe in London's West End.

Her political career began in 1950 when she ran for (but lost) a seat on the Dewsbury council. Subsequently, she became a secretary and political assistant for five years at the Labour Party headquarters in London; she then spent two years in Washington, D.C., at one point assisting John F. Kennedy in his presidential campaign.

She returned to the United Kingdom in 1957 when she made her first, unsuccessful, run for Parliament. From 1962 to 1973 she served as personal assistant to Labour ministers during the Wilson era, made three more unsuccessful attempts at entering Parliament, and served as a councillor for the London borough of Hammersmith from 1965 to 1968.

In 1973, finally, Boothroyd was elected to Parliament from the constituency of West Bromwich. She was an active backbencher sitting on several committees concerned with the running of the Commons, serving as a whip, and proudly on the party's right wing. She also served on the European Parliament from 1975 through 1977 and was elected to the party's National Executive Committee. In July of 1987 she was voted to become one of the three deputy speakers, the first Labour woman to hold that post.

On the 27th of April in 1992, Betty Boothroyd was elected to become Speaker of the House of Commons, the first woman in 700 years of Commons history to hold the post. Furthermore, she was voted for even though she was Labour in a Tory Government, by a majority of 134 (372-238) over Peter Brooke, the Government's choice for the position, with 74 Conservative MPs bucking party discipline and voting for her.

On the 12th of July, 2000, Betty Boothroyd announced that she would be stepping down from her position both as Speaker and as MP for West Bromwich West, after serving for eight years. On October 20, 2000, she formally resigned and was succeeded by Glasgow MP Michael Martin.

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