Derby-born Alfred Waterson was elected in 1918 when he stood for the Kettering and Mid-Northants Division – and went on to campaign for better rights for the unemployed and members of the armed forces.
The portrait was commissioned from Leicestershire-based artist Sophie Oakley by Central England’s northern membership and community council and society secretary, Jim Watts. Sophie is also a tutor for the society’s Leicester painting group, a class offered to the co-op’s members.
The commission came about after the Derby History Group used the society’s local history archive to research Alfred’s life story.
Tanya Noon, Central England Co-op community relations officer, said: “This painting is a wonderful reminder of Alfred’s legacy as a co-operator and also a fantastic example of co-operation in action.
“We are thrilled that the painting will be placed in the Houses of Parliament as a true reflection of Alfred’s importance, not just to co-operatives but to politics in general.”
The painting was unveiled at a meeting of the Co-operative Party held at Central England Co-op’s Lichfield headquarters.
Before becoming an MP, Alfred worked for Midland Railway Company and was also a respected local councillor in the Markeaton area. He lost his place as an MP in 1922 and went on to become a member of staff for the Co-operative Party until his retirement in 1945.
He passed away in 1964, aged 84, and was survived by his wife, daughter and two grandsons.