Pregnant Labour MP Tulip Siddiq told she was 'making women look bad' by breaking Commons rule

Posted On: 
8th January 2016

A heavily pregnant Labour MP was rebuked by a senior female colleague after she left the Commons chamber to get something to eat. 

Tulip Siddiq

Tulip Siddiq, who is seven months pregnant, said deputy speaker Eleanor Laing told her she had “made women look bad” by failing to abide by the protocols of the House.

Parliamentary conventions dictate that once an MP has spoken in a debate, they should wait for at least one more contribution before leaving the chamber.

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After speaking about Universal Credit, Ms Siddiq left the Commons to get some food during Tory MP Oliver Dowden’s speech.

Once she walked out, Ms Laing rose from the Speaker’s chair to say: “I also remind the House, because perhaps newer Members have forgotten, having been away for Christmas, that 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 speech following your own speech and usually for at least two speeches thereafter.

“The people who have not done so today know who they are.”

When Ms Siddiq, the MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, returned she reportedly apologised to Ms Laing after being called over.

A witness told the Standard: “Tulip apologised, she didn’t mention being pregnant, but Madame Deputy Speaker was annoyed and said, ‘Don’t play the pregnancy card with me’.”

Ms Laing continued: “You’ve made women look bad... People will think that women can’t follow the conventions of the House because they’re pregnant.”

She concluded: “You’re bringing down the whole of womankind.”

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Ms Siddiq said: “I think it shows the conventions of the House are outdated for anyone, let alone for pregnant women or people with health issues.

“In certain cases people should be given leeway to leave without having to go through an administrative process. Elsewhere in society that would just be common sense.”

Neither the Standard nor PoliticsHome has been able to reach Ms Laing for comment.