Leona Lewis is London’s ‘most influential’ woman

Mar 8, 2011
Jonathan Harwood

Metro readers vote the 2006 X-Factor winner the most influential woman of the last century

When the Metro newspaper embarked on a search to find who its readers considered to be London's most influential woman of the last century, its impressive shortlist of candidates included luminaries such as suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, artist Tracey Emin and Britain's only female PM Margaret Thatcher.

So it must have been slightly embarrassing for all concerned when the results were announced on the eve of International Woman's Day - and the paper was forced to reveal that, according to its army of readers, the most influential woman to live or work in London over the past 100 years was actually X-Factor winner Leona Lewis.

To make matters worse the Bleeding Love singer, who was born in Islington and won the talent show in 2006, polled more than 70 per cent of the vote, suggesting that her loyal army of fans may have been mobilised to support her.

In a distant second place was someone who did actually influence history - Margaret Thatcher - who polled just over five per cent of the vote. In third was Justine Roberts, who as the person who set up internet forum Mumsnet, is mainly influential among mothers. Kids Company charity founder Camila Batmanghelidjh was fourth and London's top female firefighter Dany Cotton was voted the fifth most influential woman of the last 100 years.

Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who helped secure women the vote early in the 20th century, polled less than two per cent.

The paper revealed that more than 10,000 people had taken part in the poll, most of whom were obviously fans of Lewis. Having swept their heroine to victory in the 2006 X-Factor final, her legion of supporters has obviously remained fiercely loyal, even though she has not released a single for over a year and her last effort failed to make it into the top 10.

Could it be that thanks to her poll victory her status as a cultural and historical icon has now been cemented? Not if you believe what you read on Twitter, where news of her win was greeted with incredulity. Lord G Almighty summed up most people's feelings when he noted: "Leona Lewis is the most influential woman of the past 100 years?! She's not even the most influential woman for the past 10 minutes."

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