Royal Mail criticised for stamp honouring 'racist' Marie Stopes

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Royal Mail has been criticised for releasing a stamp honouring Marie Stopes, the birth control pioneer who is accused of being a racist and a Nazi sympathiser.

Stopes, who is best known for opening Britain's first family planning clinic in 1921, will feature on the new 50p stamp as part of a commemorative series celebrating women of achievement.

Others honoured with black and white photographs in the new release include the Labour cabinet minister Barbara Castle, for her work promoting equal pay, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first British woman to qualify as a doctor, and her sister the women's rights campaigner Millicent Garrett Fawcett.

To her supporters Stopes, who has a sexual health charity now working in 40 countries named after her, helped liberate women and transform society with her campaigning in favour of family planning.

But Stopes, who died in 1958, was also a supporter of eugenics, the pseudo-scientific theories which promoted sterilisation of diseased or weak people to "perfect" the race, which was openly promoted by the Nazis in Germany.

She is also said to have been a supporter of Adolf Hitler, even sending a book of her poems to the Nazi dictator on the eve of the Second World War, enclosed with a warm letter declaring: "Dear Herr Hitler, Love is the greatest thing in the world."

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