New Bank of England governor Mark Carney has promised to review the lack of women represented on bank notes.

Mr Carney and colleagues are looking at how best to celebrate the diversity of great British historical figures, and he plans to make an announcement soon.

His comments follow a row over the choice of Sir Winston Churchill to appear on £5 notes in place of prison reformer Elizabeth Fry – one of only two women selected since historical figures were introduced in 1970.

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The decision to use the wartime leader in April led to an online petition and the threat of potential legal action under the Equality Act.

Mr Carney's predecessor, Sir Mervyn King, recently revealed novelist Jane Austen is the leading candidate to replace Charles Darwin on the £10 note.

Conservative MP Mary Macleod wrote to Mr Carney on the subject, complaining that "on the very notes that we earn and spend, we will now see no women at all". She added: "This is completely unrepresentative of the role women have played and continue to play in this country's history."