Take five... influential Yorkshire politicians

William Wilberforce.
William Wilberforce.
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Yorkshire has been the birthplace of some of the country’s most influential politicians who have left their stamp on the way we live.

William Wilberforce: A native of the current City of Culture, Hull, Wilberforce led the movement to eradicate the slave trade. He became an independent MP for Yorkshire in 1784 and in 1785 became an evangelical Christian. He headed the anti-slavery campaign for 20 years until the Slave Trade Act of 1807 was passed.

Harold Wilson.

Harold Wilson.

Harold Wilson: The Labour Prime Minister was born in Huddersfield. He first entered Parliament in 1945, becoming party leader in 1963. He won the 1964 election by a narrow margin but a snap election in 1966 with a greatly increased majority. A hung parliament in 1974 saw him return as leader of a minority Government.

Alice Bacon: A former teacher, Bacon became the MP for Leeds North East in 1945. Born in Normanton, she was party chair from 1950-1951. She became a Minister of State at the Home Office when Labour re-entered government in 1964. She retired in 1970 and became Baroness Bacon of the City of Leeds and of Normanton.

David Blunkett: Now Baron Blunkett, the Sheffield-born MP served in Tony Blair’s Labour Government, and his appointment as Secretary of State for Education and Employment made him the first blind Cabinet minister. He became Home Secretary in 2001. His guide dogs became familiar figures in the House of Commons.

Herbert Henry Asquith: Morley-born Herbert Henry Asquith was the last Liberal to lead the party in government without a coalition. He served as Prime Minister from 1908-1916 and laid the foundations of the modern welfare state. In August 1914, Asquith took the United Kingdom into the First World War. He later took the title Earl of Oxford.

Alice Bacon at the 1970

Labour Party Conference at Blackpool.

Alice Bacon at the 1970 Labour Party Conference at Blackpool.

David Blunkett.

David Blunkett.

Hebert Henry Asquith.

Hebert Henry Asquith.