Nadine Dorries says that unless you're a wealthy Londoner, it's impossible to be a mother while serving in the cabinet

The Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire said it was impossible for women from outside the capital to afford to serve in the cabinet

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Nadine Dorries has said it is "almost impossible" for most female members of Parliament to serve in the Cabinet because of their existing constituency and family commitments.

The MP for Mid Bedfordshire has not held a government position since the Coalition came to power in 2010. She was temporarily suspended from the parliamentary Conservative party after her decision in 2012 to take part in I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

Speaking to London Live, Dorries said that while the Labour party was lauded for its 101 female MPs in 1997 and Tony Blair's inclusion of a number of women in his Cabinet, "They were either wealthy or they had a partner who was wealthy, and they all lived in London."

In 1997, Blair had women such as Mo Mowlam, Harriet Harman, Margaret Beckett, Baroness Taylor and Clare Short in his Cabinet.

"Now, if you're a female MP, there are 650 seats. They're not in London, they're across the UK," she explained.

"So if you're a female MP in Manchester and your husband is a bus driver, how can you possibly get into the Cabinet? Or into a ministerial position in London if you have children? Well, basically you can't because you can't afford to live in London with children, you can't afford to have them educated in London because you can't afford to have a home in your constituency and a home in London.

"So if you're a young woman and you're from a background like mine and you want to be a Cabinet minister, it's very difficult to make that happen. Almost impossible I would say."

David Cameron came under pressure this year for the lack of women in his government and in a reshuffle in July the prime minister promoted 10 women.

With Nicky Morgan, Liz Truss and Esther McVey becoming members of the Cabinet earlier this year, five of the 17 people in the Tory Cabinet are women — the highest the total has been under Cameron.