The 850,000 users of the online parenting site Mumsnet are being courted by the political leaders as never before. Gordon Brown took part in a live webchat with mothers in October, resulting in the unfortunate Biscuitgate affair, and today it is David Cameron’s turn. Apparently he’s an oatcake man. The chatroom is seen as a testing ground for family-friendly policies, and a way of canvassing the all-important female vote. But why are mothers seen as such a crucial constituency in this election? And do mothers really have a collective political identity, distinct from that of women without children, or from that of fathers? Jenni talks to the co-founder of Mumsnet Justine Roberts, the political commentator and journalist for The Times Rachel Sylvester, and Rosie Campbell, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Birkbeck University.
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