'Women on banknote' campaign backed by MP

Image caption Caroline Criado-Perez questioned why Mervyn King was replacing the only woman on banknotes with Winston Churchill

A Leicester MP has backed a campaign by a student from Rutland to include more women on English banknotes.

Student Caroline Criado-Perez started a petition after the Bank of England announced it would replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry with Sir Winston Churchill on the £5 note.

She is considering legal action against the bank.

Leicester West MP Liz Kendall said the bank had already said it would consider the request at its meeting in July.

'Amazing women'

Ms Kendall is one of 46 female MPs and members of the House of Lords who have written a letter to the Bank of England asking it to reconsider the decision.

She said: "With all the amazing women in the course of our history who have made such a huge contribution to society, the economy, scientific knowledge and politics, then we should have proper representation of women on our bank notes.

"As you can see from the letter that myself and many other women MPs have written, we are doing what we can to press the case and I would encourage others to get involved and sign the petition."

Ms Criado-Perez, 29, said: "What we are doing now, we are challenging the decision under the 2010 Equality Act which says that a body taking a public decision needs to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and promote equality in the decision-making process."

Ms Criado-Perez said the campaign was not a move against Winston Churchill but rather a campaign to keep or get a woman on banknotes.

Her preferred outcome would be to get Churchill on the £10 note, replacing Darwin, and keep Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note.

A statement from the Bank of England said it did consider the representation of women when selecting the next figure to feature on a banknote.

"Four candidates - three men and a woman - were considered when Sir Winston Churchill was chosen as the historical character to appear on the next new banknote, and the female candidate was chosen as the contingency candidate."

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