First Quaker MPs elected in a decade

By agency reporter
May 11, 2015

Two Quakers have been elected as members of parliament in the UK General Election. Nineteen had stood as candidates.

Catherine West took the seat of Hornsey and Wood Green for Labour while Ruth Cadbury took Brentford and Isleworth, also for Labour.

They are the first serving Quaker MPs to be elected for 10 years and follow in a long line of Quakers who put their faith into action by working for social and legislative change.

The first Quaker to be elected as an MP was John Archdale, elected in 1698 in the constituency of Chipping Wycombe. However, as a Quaker he would not swear the oath of office, and therefore he did not take his seat.

The first Quaker to take a seat in Parliament was Joseph Pease, elected in the constituency of South Durham in 1832. Although he refused to take the oath of office, a specially appointed committee decided that he would be able to affirm rather than swear. He was followed by John Bright, elected in the neighbouring seat of Durham in 1843.

* Quakers are known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Around 22,000 people attend 480 Quaker meetings in Britain. Their commitment to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth challenges them to seek positive social and legislative change.

* Quakers in Britain http://www.quaker.org.uk/

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