Women are forced to choose between being an MP and being a mum because of Parliament’s rules, a pregnant MP says.
Labour MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy says Ipsa – the body which regulates MPs’ pay – have made it “impossible” to fulfil her responsibilities to her constituents once her baby is born.
That’s because Ipsa does not automatically provide paid cover for MPs on parental leave.
MPs themselves are paid in full for the whole period.
Prime Minister Theresa May has urged Ipsa to “look very closely” at what more support can be provided, adding there was “much more to do” to make Westminster more family friendly.
‘Fill the gaps’
Speaking to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, Ms Creasy said she had tried to “get out of” Ipsa what cover could be provided.
“They told me they don’t recognise that MPs go on maternity leave. They then graciously said if I wanted to write an application to prove my worth they would have a think about it and whether they could provide the money,” she said.
“MPs either have to hide from their constituents to spend time with their newborn baby or beg their colleagues to fill the gaps.
“This is 2019, not 1919,” she said.
Ms Creasy said she had previously suffered miscarriages and was “terrified things might go wrong again”.
She said she had continued to attend events in her constituency as she suffered her miscarriages.
She told the BBC her colleague, Labour MP Tulip Siddiq, was turned down when she requested extra funding to cover her own maternity leave.
“Tulip is having to take her baby to meetings,” she said.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “It doesn’t seem right that communities should be penalised for having a woman as its MP.
“We’re giving people another reason not to appoint women to the House of Commons,” she added. Read more