22 January 2019

MPs on maternity or paternity leave will be allowed to vote by proxy if parliament agrees, the government has announced. This comes after Tulip Siddiq MP postponed a Caesarian section despite her doctor's advice, in order to be able to vote on Theresa May's Brexit deal last week.

Fawcett Chief Executive Sam Smethers said:

“We welcome the fact that MPs will finally get to vote on the introduction of baby leave for MPs by creating a proxy voting arrangement.  This change is long overdue and a basic requirement of a modern parliamentary democracy.

“It was completely unacceptable that Tulip Siddiq MP was expected to choose between giving birth to her baby or voting in parliament.  This new arrangement will give pregnant women in parliament and new mums and dads an entitlement that they can rely on.”

If approved by MPs next week, proxy voting will be available in cases of childbirth or care of an infant or newly-adopted child, and the scheme will run for a year as a pilot.