As mentioned in the Pandora column recently, CCHQ is naming one of the few rooms it has in Millbank that isn’t part of the open plan office after suffragette Emily Pankhurst. We can now reveal the names of the other Conservative social reformers honoured with room names: Churchill, Disraeli, Butler, Wilberforce, Thatcher and Shaftesbury.
A memo from Francis Maude describes the reasoning behind each one:
Disraeli was of course one of the Party’s defining Leaders. As Prime Minister from 1874 to 1880 he pushed through the largest tranche of social reform legislation in the nineteenth century.
Emmeline Pankhurst was both a pioneering suffragette and subsequently a Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservatives. Her role in securing women’s right to vote is genuinely historic.
Rab Butler ensured a secondary education for every British child, regardless of social class or ability to pay. The 1944 Act that bears his name was a defining moment in the twentieth century.
William Wilberforce was of course the man who ended the slave trade, and by involving black abolitionists in his campaign was instrumental in the earliest stages of a long process in which black people eventually achieved equal rights.
Margaret Thatcher gave the poorest in society a way to buy their own homes and an opportunity to own shares; her 1988 Royal Society Speech put environmentalism and global warming on the political agenda; and her Scarman Enquiry began to engage Britain’s disaffected inner city youth.
Lord Shaftesbury’s campaigns for legislative reform improved access to education, improved conditions in factories and restricted child labour."
A great blend of tradition and "modern compassionate conservatism".