Stella Creasy, pregnant Labour MP for Walthamstow, has called out Ipsa - the body which regulates MPs’ pay - for making it "impossible" to fulfil her responsibilities to her constituents once her baby is born.
Creasy said said Ipsa told her it does not recognise when members go on maternity leave. Ipsa does not automatically provide paid cover for MPs on parental leave. MPs themselves are paid in full for the whole period.
She said “no community should be penalised because their MP is a woman”, but women are forced to choose between "being an MP and a mum”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 Today and Victoria Derbyshire yesterday (June 18), Creasy said she is battling to make sure there is maternity cover for MPs - so that in the autumn, Walthamstow is not left without representation.
She added: “We can’t have the people who make the law on maternity leave not putting in place maternity leave for MPs.”
A press release from Ipsa was published yesterday. Ruth Evans, chair of Ipsa, said: “Members of parliament are paid in full whilst on maternity, paternity or adoption leave. They receive a full salary from the day they are elected until the day they leave parliament.
“Ipsa provides additional funding for all MPs’ offices to cover absences. To provide MPs with extra money, Ipsa asks for an explanation to be provided of how the additional money would be spent.
“We support proposals to allow maternity cover for MPs, and this would be for the House of Commons to take forward. We will work closely with parliament on any changes they wish to introduce and on providing the funding to support this. The Ipsa board will be discussing these issues next week, and meeting the speaker’s committee in July, to support any move by parliament to assist MPs.
“In the last few years, we have more than doubled the funding available for MPs’ dependants to support family life and will continue to strive to modernise our rules.”
A campaign has now been launched to give MPs six months parental leave, sign it here.