A Conservative MP has joked her mother predicted she would either be a "stripper, a social worker or a scientist".

Katherine Fletcher (South Ribble) added to the Commons: "Well, mum, I have a biology degree and the nature of modern politics is a very good chance of achieving all three."

Ms Fletcher's light-hearted remarks came in a maiden speech which called for inspiration from the Suffragette movement to respond to "this flipping Covid" virus.

She highlighted the "continued strength throughout the ages of the northern female", saying there are "wonderful" statues to the Pankhursts to recognise their fight for women's votes.

Ms Fletcher added: "I argue to this House very strongly that the movement's success was due in part to a symbiosis with a Lancashire culture that has roots far deeper than the industrial revolution.

"Step into Edwardian shoes in a Manchester terrace. Can you imagine the conversation between the educated middle-classes and a bunch of working-class Lancastrians like Annie Kenney and Mary Leigh."

Ms Fletcher spoke in a posh accent to represent the middle-class woman, saying: "Actually we have campaigned for votes since the 1860s and have yet to succeed in our aims."

The Wythenshawe-born MP switched back to her own accent for the working-class Suffragette, joking: "Right, yeah, we're just going to have to blow something up."

Ms Fletcher went on: "I add my voice to their quote: I'd rather be a rebel than a slave."

She spoke of her grandmother's life and how it instilled the importance of education into her family.

Ms Fletcher said: "We aspire. Do your best, try harder, see what you can get up to.

"And to her daughter, my mum, the woman who said 'no, you can't go and knock on and go out and play, you've got to do this next practice paper for your exams'.

"My mum, who has regularly said 'Katherine... you'll either be a stripper, a social worker or a scientist'.

"Well, mum, I have a biology degree and the nature of modern politics is a very good chance of achieving all three."

MPs in the chamber laughed at the remark before Ms Fletcher said people of different culture and classes need to work together to achieve things, adding: "We're best as one nation, not divided by class war or political tribalism."

Ms Fletcher also said: "This flipping Covid - it's a huge test for us and we'll only pass it if we take a leaf out of the Suffragettes' book and work together, equally."