POLITICS: MPs: Spice Girls Make Bad Role Models

Article excerpt

The Spice Girls and Margaret Thatcher are poor role models for young girls, Midland MPs insisted last night.

Women MPs in the region took issue with Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, after he named the singers and the former PM as examples for girls to follow.

Mr Balls was speaking in advance of the publication today of a 10-year plan to reform education and the way children are treated, designed to make Britain the "best place in the world to grow up".

He warned that advertising was encouraging young girls to worry about their weight and appearance at an early age - and said it was important to offer positive role models instead.

But Lorely Burt (Lib Dem Solihull) said: "I can't think of two less desirable role models than them."

She suggested Olympic gold-medallist Kelly Holmes instead. "In the music industry I would think of Kylie Minogue, who battled against breast cancer."

Lady Thatcher had failed to provide opportunities for other women to obtain senior roles in politics, Ms Burt said.

Edgbaston MP Gisela Stuart (Lab Edgbaston) said: "If I had a daughter, the two role models I would suggest for her would be the wife of the Prime Minister and the wife of the former prime minister, rather than Lady Thatcher and the Spice Girls."

She said Cherie Blair and Sarah Brown were both women who had combined motherhood with a career, and forged equal partnerships with their husbands. …