A British government minister attacked Republican U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin as "horrendous" at the Labour Party conference on Saturday.
The outburst from Communities Secretary Hazel Blears threatens to undermine Prime Minister Gordon Brown's determination for the British government to maintain a neutral position in the U.S. presidential election.
Speaking at a fringe meeting of the centre-left party during its annual party conference in Manchester, Blears said Palin was capitalising on people's disillusionment with regular politics.
"I just think there is so much anti-politics — not just in this country but around the world," Blears said.
"One of the reasons why Sarah Palin has been such a phenomenon is because she's anti-politics, anti-Washington.
"Her politics are horrendous, but actually she's struck a chord with people — 'I'm a maverick, I'm not part of those powerful people' — and people identified with that," Blears said.
Palin, the strongly anti-abortion governor of Alaska, has boosted Republican candidate John McCain's fortunes since being named his surprise choice as running mate.
This month, Brown denied favoring either McCain or Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race, despite writing an article in which he appeared to back the Democrats.
He rejected allegations of bias after a magazine article in which he said it was "the Democrats who are generating the ideas".
Copyright AFP 2008