A senior Conservative MP was in Birmingham yesterday urging women to use their "talent and expertise" in the political arena.

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons Theresa May said many women voters looked around their workplaces and found politicians had little in common with their colleagues.

Ms May was speaking at the first meeting of the Women2Women group to be held outside of London. She is also co-chairwoman of the group, which aims to boost the number of women prospective parliamentary candidates in the Conservative Party.

"I think the Conservative Party is missing out on a lot of talent and expertise and it will be good for the party to show that we are more up to date," she said.

"Nine out of ten Conservative MPs are male, but when women look around in their jobs, they see that this does not properly reflect modern society."

Ms May said women who were not involved in politics were invited to attend the Women2Women sessions.

Yesterday's event, at the Metro Bar and Grill on Cornwall Street, was also attended by Meriden and Bromsgrove MPs Caroline Spelman and Julie Kirkbride. Conservative prospective candidates for Solihull, Birmingham Edgbaston and Redditch - Maggie Throup, Deirdre Alden and Karen Lumley - were also involved.

Ms May said: "I think women are not only concerned with 'traditional' women's issues - they are also interested in transport and the economy.

"But I think they would become more interested if there were more politicians that they can relate to."