What to do with pregnant MPs? Watch

ThomH97
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Pregnant MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy has spoken out about having to "choose between being an MP and being a mum" because of the lack of paid maternity cover. She is calling for a locum to be available to do some of the work to free up time for herself and other new parents (might be just mums, I didn't see a mention of fathers in amongst the many mentions of mothers and women) to spend time with their babies.

Ideally, people would be able to have kids and not suffer at work. Also ideally, the person you vote for to represent you in the incoming Parliament is going to be there to represent you in the way they said they would in the incoming Parliament. Thankfully, these aren't actually at odds except for small periods of time (a couple of weeks typically) just after birth, or bereavement if you are unfortunate to suffer a miscarriage like Creasy. The problem arises when you want to spend all day with your kids for a year, sleep at night, yet also want 8+ hours a day representing tens of thousands of people for a period of 5 years. It's not 'being a mum' that is in conflict with being an MP, it's being a stay-at-home mum (nothing wrong with that, but basic logic dictates you won't be able to do some other things instead).

In her Guardian article, Creasy asks "if we can’t get this right for MPs, how can we get this right for parents elsewhere?" which I feel is a bit misleading. MPs are chosen on an individual basis to serve a 5-year (at most) 'contract', not open ended employment as is typical for most jobs.

Looking at her idea for a locum, I think this is workable for an MP who was elected as a generic career politician who wears the rosette of a large party. They will typically not be an individual MP who has a long history of living and working in your constituency, and nor will they have a long term vested interest in doing well unless they can be incentivised with promise of being given their own constituency by party leaders some day. However, this doesn't work for an independent candidate, nor does it work for a constituent who specifically wants said person as their MP rather than the generic career politician. Should Creasy be instead asking her party for support?

Obviously one other solution is for her to subcontract her work to someone else. If Ipsa don't 'recognise' that MPs can just go AWOL for a year, then the MP can pay from the salary they're still receiving. An MP who truly wants to still campaign for their constituents will find it increasingly easy to do so from home with an internet connection, and we currently have voting by proxy being trialled in the Commons.

What do you think? Should MPs see their election as an individual commitment for the whole of the Parliament, up to 5 years? Is it okay to move more and more to a system where MPs individual politics matter less, and we vote for the party leader and/or colour? And would you put a limit on the time an MP could use a locum - hypothetically you can have a new kid every year.

And from another angle, if lots of allowances and help were given to and received by female MPs of childbearing age, what does that do to the likelihood of them being elected?
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AperfectBalance
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If someone makes the choice to have a kid they have to live with the consequences, I would suggest they drop being an MP and focus on bringing up their children, I certainly wouldnt want to have an MP who had their skills diminished because they had to look after a kid.
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Call me Jezebel
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I can't believe I have to represent women.

You make a choice to have a child and you aren't doing gods work if you actually had a child with somebody who EQUALLY takes responsibility. Stop crying like a typical entitled woman and fix who you decide to have a baby with. Absolutely pathetic.
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SHallowvale
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Er... surely they should just be entitled to the same maternity rights as women elsewhere?

If they choose to take their 52 weeks maternity leave then a fellow MP should step in to take their place while they are gone. It's not like there's a shortage of MPs who would be willing to further their career/political influence, let's be real! 😂😂😂
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Good bloke
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
Er... surely they should just be entitled to the same maternity rights as women elsewhere?

If they choose to take their 52 weeks maternity leave then a fellow MP should step in to take their place while they are gone. It's not like there's a shortage of MPs who would be willing to further their career/political influence, let's be real! 😂😂😂
MPs are not employees; they are elected representatives. They cannot be subbstituted by people who are not elected by the constituents concerned. She should stand down and they can elect someone else.

This MP seeks to turn the situation on its head. It is the constitiuents who should be complaining. This woman has gained election under false pretences and now wants to abandon her role to someone who has not been elected.
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Burton Bridge
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I don't understand the issue, she can give birth take her maternity leave as she's entitled then, go back to work like everyone else!
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by Good bloke)
MPs are not employees; they are elected representatives. They cannot be subbstituted by people who are not elected by the constituents concerned. She should stand down and they can elect someone else.

This MP seeks to turn the situation on its head. It is the constitiuents who should be complaining. This woman has gained election under false pretences and now wants to abandon her role to someone who has not been elected.
Proxy voting is also a thing, though. Even if they are absent from parliament it can be arranged for someone to vote for them on their behalf.
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ThomH97
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(Original post by AperfectBalance)
If someone makes the choice to have a kid they have to live with the consequences, I would suggest they drop being an MP and focus on bringing up their children, I certainly wouldnt want to have an MP who had their skills diminished because they had to look after a kid.
Would you be less likely to vote for a female 20-40 y/o (although Creasy is 42 and still trying) Parliamentary candidate if women had the option to take a year out?

(Original post by Call me Jezebel)
I can't believe I have to represent women.

You make a choice to have a child and you aren't doing gods work if you actually had a child with somebody who EQUALLY takes responsibility. Stop crying like a typical entitled woman and fix who you decide to have a baby with. Absolutely pathetic.
I agree, she is choosing to 'burden' herself with child-rearing responsibilities, rather than working things out with the father.

(Original post by SHallowvale)
Er... surely they should just be entitled to the same maternity rights as women elsewhere?
Possibly, but like I said in the OP, isn't being an MP more like a 5-year (or less) contract, rather than open-ended employment? 20% off (for each child) is quite significant. And clearly, one can't be prioritising the tens of thousands of constituents they promised to represent if they plan to take such time off. Admittedly Creasy is open about wanting to have kids and her constituency keep voting her in comfortably, but I wouldn't take it for granted that voters will be happy with it should it.

If they choose to take their 52 weeks maternity leave then a fellow MP should step in to take their place while they are gone. It's not like there's a shortage of MPs who would be willing to further their career/political influence, let's be real! 😂😂😂
Is that good though? As I said in the OP, it's not really viable for independent candidates to get someone with similar political views to replace them, and even for large parties who can parachute someone in to toe the party line, is it really a good thing to move more towards electing a party rather than your individual, local MP?

(Original post by Good bloke)
MPs are not employees; they are elected representatives. They cannot be subbstituted by people who are not elected by the constituents concerned. She should stand down and they can elect someone else.

This MP seeks to turn the situation on its head. It is the constitiuents who should be complaining. This woman has gained election under false pretences and now wants to abandon her role to someone who has not been elected.
I mostly agree with this. I think it's a bit harsh on Creasy to say she's won office on false pretences, but since we shouldn't be suspecting every woman of childbearing age to be replaced by a puppet for a year, it makes sense to not pander to those who do plan to take advantage of their constituents' trust.
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ThomH97
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(Original post by Burton Bridge)
I don't understand the issue, she can give birth take her maternity leave as she's entitled then, go back to work like everyone else!
Who do you replace her with? That's the question, because they'd be unelected and probably not have the long term interests of the constituency at hear tot he same extent as the actually elected MP.
(Original post by SHallowvale)
Proxy voting is also a thing, though. Even if they are absent from parliament it can be arranged for someone to vote for them on their behalf.
This is doable (as is 'pairing', in theory), but Creasy has mentioned many more things that she does that wouldn't work nearly so well with a mere stand-in.
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Burton Bridge
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(Original post by ThomH97)
Who do you replace her with? That's the question, because they'd be unelected and probably not have the long term interests of the constituency at hear tot he same extent as the actually elected MP.

This is doable (as is 'pairing', in theory), but Creasy has mentioned many more things that she does that wouldn't work nearly so well with a mere stand-in.
The person will be out for 26 weeks, there is no reason we can't hold a by election fir a temporary candidate.

Mountain out of a molehill
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DarthRoar
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It doesn't make sense to have MPs absent for extended periods, be they male or female. MPs are elected representatives, and having them nominate proxies defeats the point of having elected representatives, if they even trust/know anyone suitable. Their duties aren't limited to simply voting, but also for campaigning on issues important to the constituency, which can't be done if they're not there.

An MP could conceivably be absent on maternity/paternity leave for 2-3 years of their 5 year term. It cannot be that a constituency goes without their democratic representative for such long periods. It's silly that the speaker's seat works that way.
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The Sec(C) Nerd
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The UK is such a hostile environment towards parenthood. Only the eternal Anglo could be so depraved as to think your job matters more than your baby.
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ThomH97
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(Original post by Burton Bridge)
The person will be out for 26 weeks, there is no reason we can't hold a by election fir a temporary candidate.

Mountain out of a molehill
Or 52, if we are comparing to normal people. But yeah, electing a temporary MP would work, just it's not one of the things Creasy is asking for, and probably (imo) not something she'd accept if she didn't go anywhere near talking about standing down for the rest of the Parliament.
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Burton Bridge
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(Original post by ThomH97)
Or 52, if we are comparing to normal people. But yeah, electing a temporary MP would work, just it's not one of the things Creasy is asking for, and probably (imo) not something she'd accept if she didn't go anywhere near talking about standing down for the rest of the Parliament.
She'd accept! Unbelievable, its her choice what on earth makes her think she's worth more than other workers.... Grrr
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by ThomH97)
Possibly, but like I said in the OP, isn't being an MP more like a 5-year (or less) contract, rather than open-ended employment? 20% off (for each child) is quite significant. And clearly, one can't be prioritising the tens of thousands of constituents they promised to represent if they plan to take such time off. Admittedly Creasy is open about wanting to have kids and her constituency keep voting her in comfortably, but I wouldn't take it for granted that voters will be happy with it should it.

Is that good though? As I said in the OP, it's not really viable for independent candidates to get someone with similar political views to replace them, and even for large parties who can parachute someone in to toe the party line, is it really a good thing to move more towards electing a party rather than your individual, local MP?
She can raise her child and still represent her constituents, though. Proxy voting has recently been trialed that allows MPs to have someone vote for them, specifically in the cases of childbirth and raising a baby/infant. This seems like a very sensible work around which will enable the MP to both raise a family and continue their responsibilities as a representative.

If an MP is a member of a committee, a minister or a member of the cabinet then their role should just be filled by another MP while they are away.
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AperfectBalance
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(Original post by ThomH97)
Would you be less likely to vote for a female 20-40 y/o (although Creasy is 42 and still trying) Parliamentary candidate if women had the option to take a year out?


I agree, she is choosing to 'burden' herself with child-rearing responsibilities, rather than working things out with the father.


Possibly, but like I said in the OP, isn't being an MP more like a 5-year (or less) contract, rather than open-ended employment? 20% off (for each child) is quite significant. And clearly, one can't be prioritising the tens of thousands of constituents they promised to represent if they plan to take such time off. Admittedly Creasy is open about wanting to have kids and her constituency keep voting her in comfortably, but I wouldn't take it for granted that voters will be happy with it should it.


Is that good though? As I said in the OP, it's not really viable for independent candidates to get someone with similar political views to replace them, and even for large parties who can parachute someone in to toe the party line, is it really a good thing to move more towards electing a party rather than your individual, local MP?


I mostly agree with this. I think it's a bit harsh on Creasy to say she's won office on false pretences, but since we shouldn't be suspecting every woman of childbearing age to be replaced by a puppet for a year, it makes sense to not pander to those who do plan to take advantage of their constituents' trust.
I probably would because there is a decent chance of them taking a year off and neglecting their office.
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ThomH97
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
She can raise her child and still represent her constituents, though. Proxy voting has recently been trialed that allows MPs to have someone vote for them, specifically in the cases of childbirth and raising a baby/infant. This seems like a very sensible work around which will enable the MP to both raise a family and continue their responsibilities as a representative.

If an MP is a member of a committee, a minister or a member of the cabinet then their role should just be filled by another MP while they are away.
I've talked about proxy voting. It doesn't cover all of an MP's duties though, even if we restrict it to just constituency work and picking 'Aye' or 'No'. It's certainly easier to stay connected these days, but I'd be surprised if a prominent MP came out and said it was all so easy they could do it from home. Creasy herself talks about attending protests and running committees on issues important to her constituents, you wouldn't get the same commitment from a proxy reading from a pre-prepared script.
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Good bloke
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(Original post by SHallowvale)
Proxy voting is also a thing, though. Even if they are absent from parliament it can be arranged for someone to vote for them on their behalf.
If someone else can fulfil her role, and she seems to expect it, why would she be paid to do it as well. She asked to be elected and now has other priorities and ambitions. She is letting her constituents down.

Why do you think the main role of an MP is to vote?
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Good bloke
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(Original post by The Sec(C) Nerd)
Only the eternal Anglo could be so depraved as to think your job matters more than your baby.
This is not a job. She is an elected represetative and does not now wish to do the representing.
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The RAR
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Why not just hold another election and she can still be an MP until a successor is elected? Shouldn't take that long
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