THE Prime Minister has backed the campaign for statue of former Blackburn MP Barbara Castle in the town centre.

Theresa May’s endorsement follows Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn last week revealing he had donated to the appeal for the memorial.

The campaign, launched in March last year, hopes to see the bronze sculpture located in the new Jubilee Square in front of Blackburn college as part of the new Blakey Moor heritage quarter.

Mrs May, The United Kingdom’s second female Prime Minister, told the Lancashire Telegraph: “Barbara Castle played a significant role in British public life and championed the rights of women up and down the country, including through the introduction of the Equal Pay Act.

“It is only fitting that a statue should be erected to honour her legacy and I wish the campaign all the best of success.”

At a really on Bank Holiday Monday Mr Corbyn descried Baroness Castle as ‘ ‘a wonderful, wonderful woman’ and revealed he had given his own cash to the appeal.

She was MP for Blackburn from 1945 to 1979 and held five high-profile government posts.

As transport minister Baroness Castle introduced the breathalyser, confirmed the 70mph maximum speed limit and legislated for seat belts on new cars and as Employment Secretary she introduced the Equal Pay Act in 1970.

After her House of Common career she was also a Euro-MP and a member of the House of Lords as Baroness Castle of Blackburn and died aged 91 in 2002.

Ewood Labour councillor Maureen Bateson, the moving spirit bahind the appeal to raise £50,000 for the statue, said: “This endorsement shows this campaign is not just about Barbara as a party politician but as Blackburn’s MP, a woman and an influential Cabinet minister.

“I welcome the Mrs May’’s support and am looking forward to receiving her donation.

“Barbara would wish to be remembered not just as a woman in politics but as a significant politician - and she was better than most!”

Cllr Colin Rigby, a former leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “Barbara Castle did some good things.

“I am still here because of her law on seat belts as one stopped me going through the windscreen in a car accident.

“Mrs May’s support shows this is about her being more than just a Labour politician.”

The bronze statue of Mrs Castle in her early 40s striding purposefully down the streets of the town will be created by Sam Holland.

The appeal is the third attempt to mark Lady Castle’s legacy with a physical tribute after £19,000 was raised by the local Labour party in the 1980s for a community centre named after her and a failed bid for a statue in 2004.

Part of the town’s orbital route and its Barbara Castle Way health centre are already named after her.