Barbara Castle

British politician (1910–2002)

Barbara Anne Castle, Baroness Castle of Blackburn, PC, GCOT (née Betts, 6 October 1910 – 3 May 2002) was a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament for Blackburn from 1945 to 1979, making her the longest-serving female MP in the history of the House of Commons, until that record was broken in 2007 by Gwyneth Dunwoody. She later became the Member of the European Parliament for Greater Manchester from 1979 to 1989. One of the most significant Labour Party politicians of the 20th century, she served in the Cabinet under Prime Minister Harold Wilson in a number of roles, including as Secretary of State for Employment, Secretary of State for Health and Social Services, and First Secretary of State.


  • The poverty and unemployment which we came into existence to fight have been largely conquered
    • 1959, Nicholas Timmins: The five giants: a biography of the welfare state. HarperCollins, 1995. Pp 254-255

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