A heavily pregnant Labour MP was allegedly accused of “bringing down the whole of womankind” and “playing the pregnancy card” after she broke the rules of the Commons by leaving a debate to eat.
According to the Evening Standard Tulip Siddiq was allegedly told by Eleanor Laing, the Deputy Speaker of the Commons, that she had “made women look bad” by leaving the Commons chamber after a debate on Universal Credit welfare reforms.
Miss Siddiq, who is seven months pregnant, arrived in the Chamber at 12.30 before giving a speech at 2.30, according to official records. She left to get food 15 minutes later, and was publically criticised by Mrs Laing.
Speaking from the Speaker’s Chair she said: “If one makes a speech in the Chamber, it is courteous and required by the rules of the House that one stays in the Chamber certainly for the following speech and usually for at least two speeches thereafter. The people who have not done so today know who they are.”
When she returned 45 minutes later Mrs Laing called her over.One witness told the Evening Stanrdard: “Tulip apologised, she didn’t mention being pregnant, but Madame Deputy Speaker was annoyed and said, ‘Don’t play the pregnancy card with me’.”
They claimed that the Deputy Speaker added that “you’ve made women look bad” before allegedly saying: “People will think that women can’t follow the conventions of the House because they’re pregnant.” She was then said to have told Miss Siddiq: “You’re bringing down the whole of womankind.”
A Commons spokesman declined to comment on “the content of private conversations held in the Chamber”. The spokesman added that if an MP needs to leave a debate before convention allows they can apply “privately to the chair to leave the Chamber”.