Lady Boothroyd
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Lady Boothroyd: Commons noise 'the sound of democracy'

The former Speaker of the House of Commons, Betty Boothroyd, has said that she is in favour of "a little noise" in the Commons chamber, saying that it is "the sound of democracy".

Speaking to The World At One's Shaun Ley, Baroness Boothroyd said the women working in Parliament in the 1950s were "very powerful women... characters with lots of panache and personality".

Recalling her early years in Parliament, she said she "should have gone in the Guinness Book of Records as the girl least likely to succeed".

The first female Speaker said she believed that the Commons is a "bit more rowdy" today, but added that many parliaments around the world are "like morgues... there is no emotion... Certainly I want a little noise."

Baroness Boothroyd is one of five members of the Order of Merit being interviewed by The World At One to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. An exclusive grouping, at any one time there are just 24 members. And, unlike most honours, it is in the personal gift of the Queen.

  • 31 May 2012