An MP is demanding changes after she claimed she was told to choose between her job and motherhood.

Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow, said she is being forced to decide between staying in work while pregnant or temporarily foregoing her duties as an MP.

She said because of outdated systems which do not recognise that MPs need to go on parental leave, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) - which regulates MPs’ pay - doesn’t make provisions for paid cover for what MPs do outside the parliamentary chamber.

This includes the campaigns, constituency casework and municipal work that all MPs do.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

(Pregnant MPs are not provided additional funding for maternity cover)

In an opinion piece published in the Guardian, Ms Creasy wrote: “No community should be penalised because their MP is a woman, I am going public with the battle to make sure there is maternity cover for MPs so that in the autumn Walthamstow is not left without representation.”

Ms Creasy is being supported by the movement Pregnant then Screwed with a petition calling for IPSA chief executive Marcial Boo to create a budget to ensure MPs can take six months leave when they have a baby.

IPSA responded saying MPs are still paid in full while they take parental leave. A spokesman added the authority supports proposals to allow maternity cover for MPs.

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The spokesman said: “IPSA provides additional funding for all MPs’ offices to cover absences. To provide MPs with extra money, IPSA asks for an explanation to be provided of how the additional money would be spent.

“We support proposals to allow maternity cover for MPs, and this would be for the House of Commons to take forward. We will work closely with Parliament on any changes they wish to introduce and on providing the funding to support this. The IPSA Board will be discussing these issues next week, and meeting the Speaker’s Committee in July, to support any move by Parliament to assist MPs.

“In the last few years, we have more than doubled the funding available for MPs’ dependents to support family life and will continue to strive to modernise our rules.”

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A House of Commons spokesman said: “The Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion has worked with others across Parliament to make Parliament a more comfortable and welcoming place for women and other under-represented groups.”

The spokesman pointed to examples where changes were made: MPs are now allowed to bring their children through division lobbies and into the chamber, and a Women and Equalities Committee has been established.

They added proxy voting for parental leave was introduced on a trial basis in January, following a recommendation in 2018 by the Procedure Committee. The committee will be carrying out a review of proxy voting later in the year.

The spokesman said: “In 2018 the UK’s first Gender-Sensitive Parliament audit was carried out and made a number of recommendations to address the barriers to increasing the number of female MPs.”