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Rise of Sarah Palin’s “mama grizzlies”

Exclusive: why Tory MPs Nadine Dorries and Louise Bagshawe love Palin power

In my article in this week's magazine on the growing phenomenon of conservative women's movements in the US (which will be published in full on the site on Monday), two Tory MPs reveal their admiration for Sarah Palin and her troupe of "mama grizzlies" in the Tea Party:

Nadine Dorries MP says, "I think Sarah Palin is amazing. I totally admire her."

Louise Bagshawe MP describes Palin as a "remarkable figure": "I watched her acceptance speech at the Republican party conference and it seemed to me that it was a glorious moment, a birth of a new political star."

Bagshawe also identifies closely with Palin's socially conservative agenda. Here's a short extract from the piece:

Like some of her American sisters, Bagshawe is also anti-abortion. "I've never had a problem with being pro-life and a feminist," she says. "I don't consider them to be at all incompatible." She reveals that she is a member of a prominent US pro-life lobby group, Feminists For Life.

Dorries, meanwhile, would like to see a similar kind of uprising of stay-at-home, conservative mothers in the UK: "Do you know the people who have no voice in this country? Who are never written about, who journalists never talk about? The mums. Mums who decide that they will give up their careers and stay at home and look after their children."

From the piece:

Dorries says she has been inspired by recent events in the US - the primary victories of O'Donnell and others. With a new government in place, she senses a "wind of change" in the political atmosphere in Britain. In the last parliament, she says, it was "very difficult to talk about the family unit, and to talk about mothers and children . . . as the foundation of society, because it was seen as a very unsexy, untrendy thing to do and the opposite of what a woman should be doing". Given the sympathetic political climate, she sees an opportunity to mobilise a perceived constituency of ignored, stay-at-home mothers. "I think it's time somebody started to represent those mums," she says.

Read the full piece in this week's magazine, out today.