A leading suffragist is to be the first woman ever to be honoured with a statue in Parliament Square.

A statue of Millicent Fawcett, who led the campaign for women’s votes in 1866, will stand alongside monuments to Sir Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela.

The erection of the statue will form part of the celebrations to make the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918.

The 1918 Act gave the vote to women over 30 who met a property qualification, as well as to all men over 21. Equal suffrage for both men and women was not enshrined in law until 1928.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: "The example Millicent Fawcett set during the struggle for equality continues to inspire the battle against the burning injustices of today.

"It is right and proper that she is honoured in Parliament Square alongside former leaders who changed our country.

"Her statue will stand as a reminder of how politics only has value if it works for everyone in society."

Chief Executive Sam Smethers said: “We are delighted that Millicent Fawcett, the woman who led the constitutional campaign for votes for women, will finally be honoured.

“A statue of her in Parliament Square will be a fitting tribute. Her contribution was great but she has been overlooked and unrecognised until now.

"By honouring her we also honour the wider suffrage movement. The Fawcett Society will be using the centenary next year to tell that story in all its diversity."

Ms Fawcett began leading a mass campaign to get women the vote, using peaceful methods to achieve women's suffrage, in 1866.

She worked alongside the Suffragettes, who employed different and more militant tactics in their campaign.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan added: “As Mayor I’m determined to do everything in my power to break down the barriers to success women face.

“A huge part of that is telling the stories and recognising the contributions of the women who’ve helped to build our country and our democracy.”

To listen to a documentary about Millicent Fawcett, visit https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/about-2/history/