From The Apprentice to parliament? No thanks, Karren Brady tells Tories

TV star Karren Brady is firmly rebuffing a barrage of requests from local Conservative associations to become an MP.

The West Ham vice-chairman has rejected proposals from as many as six local associations in recent months, according to reports.

It follows her appearance at the Conservative party conference in Manchester this autumn, when she introduced chancellor George Osborne.

Her brief speech won rapturous applause and she now faces pressure to switch from football to politics – pressure she is resisting.

"Karren found all the approaches very flattering, but she is very busy with West Ham and other work and has no plans for a professional career in politics," a source close to Brady said.

Her refusal presents a problem for the Tories, which could disappoint gender equality campaigners by selecting a disappointing number of female candidates for winnable seats in the 2015 general election.

A series of safe seats have gone to male candidates, undermining the Tories' stated aim of increasing their number of women MPs in the next parliament.

Brady's decision to reject a career in politics seems odd for a woman who, so far, has not hesitated to get her views across.

She writes regularly for the Sun's Woman And Home magazine, is a novelist and helps Alan Sugar on BBC1's The Apprentice.

Her hints earlier this year that she might be prepared to get more involved in politics led to her appearance at the podium in Manchester.

"It is this government that stands by you, it is this government that understands that without small businesses Britain would not be what it is today," she told delegates in early October.