Back to Top

MPs remember Hull's William Wilberforce

Hull North MP Diana Johnson today paid tribute to the work of Hull MP William Wilberforce and his long Parliamentary campaign to pass the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act 1807.

This Sunday, 25 March 2007, is the 200th anniversary of this historic Act passing into British law. It marked the turning point in the fight to abolish legal enslavement and led to the liberation of millions of slaves around the World.

Diana Johnson spoke in today’s Commons debate on the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act. The debate was introduced by Hull East MP and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott. As well as paying a full tribute to William Wilberforce, Diana promoted Hull’s current work in promoting fair trade and development, the city’s twinning with Freetown in Sierra Leone and the Wilberforce 2007 petition against modern day slavery.

Diana Johnson MP this week tables a Commons motion backing the campaign to have William Wilberforce’s image carried on British £10 banknotes, taking over from the image of Charles Darwin that presently adourns them.
Diana also joined fellow Hull MP Alan Johnson to toast the name of William Wilberforce with the Freedom Ale fair trade beer in the Strangers’ Bar in the House of Commons.

Diana Johnson MP said: “As we approach the 200th anniversary this weekend of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act becoming law, it is with pride that we remember the contribution of Hull MP William Wilberforce and his fellow campaigners in anti-slavery cause.

“This was a major step forward, felt across the World, in the advance of freedom, modernity, equality and human dignity. However, while celebrating the best of our past we should not live in it. This is why I want to mark the achievements of Wilberforce in ways that serve as a lasting reminder of the present day challenges of the modern day slave trade, the evil of human trafficking and the legacy of poverty, exploitation and tyranny that still blights the continent of Africa.”