Parliament must get its own House in order on maternity rights, Jo Swinson says

Parliament must get its “own House in order” if it wants to take a lead on tackling workplace maternity discrimination, Lib Dem leadership hopeful Jo Swinson has said.

The party’s deputy leader Ms Swinson’s comments came after pregnant Labour MP Stella Creasy called for a rethink of parliamentary rules over maternity leave after admitting feeling forced to choose between “being an MP and being a mum”.

Speaking to the Press Association, the MP for East Dunbartonshire said the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) should look at having contingency funding to provide cover.

She said: “I’m sadly not surprised that it’s been so difficult, that we’re still fighting these battles.

“54,000 women a year in the UK lose their jobs through pregnancy and maternity discrimination, and even in the place where we make our laws we don’t manage to properly provide maternity cover for MPs, and that’s not just important in terms of how representative this place can be and making sure that anybody can stand to be an MP, but it’s also important because we’re setting the standard.

“If we want to take a lead on tackling this discrimination in the workplaces right across the country, we also need to get our own House in order.”