MORE proof, as if we needed any, that women who put themselves forward to be selected as parliamentary candidates face inappropriate questions about their family planning. Tulip Siddiq told the House of Commons that members thought “there was a chance I might have children, there were questions raised about it” before she was selected to succeed Glenda Jackson in Hampstead and Kilburn.
The MP fell pregnant after her first general election win in 2015 and welcomed baby Azalea to the world in April 2016. She has since campaigned for the Houses of Parliament to bring in new measures to assist MPs who are new mothers, including electronic voting.
She described the difficulties of dealing with significant casework in the days after an emergency c-section and how she had fallen ill after rushing back to work too quickly, because she had been worried how any absence might reflect on the previously small majority in her constituency.
The local Labour membership, said Ms Siddiq, had nevertheless been supportive, and recalled a theory that politicians who had children won more votes.
“I had a lot of support from my constituency Labour party when I ran to be an MP. As I was a young woman, they thought that there was a chance I would have children,” she said in the speech earlier this month.
“Questions were raised about that, but the chairman—David Queen, who sadly died a few weeks ago—was a real feminist. He said: ‘What is the problem if we have MPs who have children? It is good for the constituency.’ He said that politicians with children apparently got more votes, although I do not know if that is true.”