Suffragette film sees Parliament used as set for first time

image source, Getty Images
image captionCarey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter star in Suffragette

The Houses of Parliament are for the first time being used as a set for a commercial film, as shooting for Suffragette takes place.

British stars Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter were joined outside the building by hundreds of extras playing protesters in the forthcoming movie.

Scenes have also been shot in the central lobby and a committee room.

Permission for filming was granted after MPs agreed it was a good way to cover the cost of running Parliament.

image source, Steffan Hill/UK Parliament/PA
image captionIt is the first time commercial filming has been allowed in the Houses of Parliament
image source, Steffan Hill/UK Parliament/PA
image captionFilming took place both inside and outside the estate

With MPs away on their Easter break, ministerial cars were replaced by vintage vehicles and rioting women fighting for the vote.

The filming comes just over 100 years since a series of real demonstrations by members of the Suffragette movement in the Palace of Westminster.

The director of Suffragette, Sarah Gavron, said: "Our film is inspired by the true stories of the foot soldiers of the Suffragette movement, women who were willing to sacrifice everything in their fight for the right to vote.

"We are honoured to be allowed to recreate a crucial moment in that long journey towards equality by filming where the Suffragettes actually brought their protest over 100 years ago."

The film also features Meryl Streep as fearsome campaigner Emmeline Pankhurst.

image source, Getty Images
image captionHelena Bonham Carter plays one of the campaigners
image source, Getty Images
image captionCarey Mulligan was also on set dressed as a suffragette

But Oscar-winning Streep - who in 2011 attended Prime Minister's Questions in preparation for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady - has already filmed her scenes and was not expected to be on set.

Sir Alan Haselhurst MP, chair of the House of Commons administration committee, said: "As a British film which clearly relates to Parliament's history and heritage, this is an ideal pilot for the House of Commons to identify the opportunities for location filming and income generation.

"We hope the film will engage the public with Parliament's history and heritage, and will offer a new way to bring our iconic buildings to a wider audience."

Adrian Wootton, chief executive of Film London and the British Film Commission, said: "Opening up such an iconic location as the House of Commons for filming is fantastic news.

"This unique location promises to attract more production to the capital, and by working with the industry and our partners, we will help ensure it can get the most out of filming, while protecting the integrity of this very special building.

image source, Getty Images
image captionHundreds of extras helped to form a mob outside parliament
image source, Getty Images
image captionActors playing mounted police officers tried to hold back the crowds during the scenes

"And I look forward to seeing it on screen in the star-studded Suffragette, which will be a fantastic showcase of British talent, behind and in front of the camera, and this very special new location."

Suffragette is a fictional story, set against the background of the struggle for women's rights.

Emmeline Pankhurst was imprisoned for the first time in February 1908 when she attempted to enter the House of Commons.

Later that year, she was jailed again after being found guilty of inciting a rush on the House of Commons.

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