Romford MP, Andrew Rosindell, defends maternity leave comments about Rachel Reeves
PUBLISHED: 11:57 24 February 2015 | UPDATED: 13:49 24 February 2015
Mr Rosindell says he is not against pregnant women becoming ministers, he was just commenting on Ms Reeves.
Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, has defended comments questioning pregnant shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, suitability for a cabinet position if Labour were to win the general election in May.
In comments made to the Daily Mail Mr Rosindell questioned Ms Reeves suitability to join the cabinet, if Labour won the general election, as she is due to give birth to her second baby five weeks after the vote.
Mr Rosindell told the newspaper: “I don’t want to say someone who is having a baby is not eligible to be a Cabinet minister, but I certainly think perhaps the demands of that particular job will require someone to give it their full attention.”
“I don’t expect Rachel Reeves to be in the Cabinet after the election because I expect the Conservatives to win, but clearly people need to be put in the positions they can handle.”
Speaking exclusively to the Recorder about those comments, Mr Rosindell said: “The situation is I am not against people having children and being a minster, the comments I made have been completely distorted.”
He continued: “What I was commenting on is Rachel Reeves saying she is going to get rid of the bedroom tax and then go on maternity leave straight away. She is very arrogant.”
Ms Reeves told the Daily Mail she would abolish the bedroom tax and take maternity leave shortly after the general election.
Mr Rosindell told the Recorder: “Labour has not even won the election yet and she says she is going to go off as soon as she gets in power.”
He added: “Maybe she should take maternity leave as an MP and then come back after that.
“She is talking about taking on another job at the same time she’s getting maternity leave.”
Rachel Reeves tweeted last night: “300,000 women a year take maternity leave but @AndrewRosindell thinks can’t do big job & be a mum. Tory women problem?”
Ms Reeves today told the Daily Telegraph: “Andrew Rosindell is a dinosaur, these are the first remarks I’ve ever seen from him. But what he’s said suggests a very backdated, old-fashioned view of women in Parliament and probably women in general.”
She continued: “If he was in the room now, I would say to him go and talk to the mums in Romford and tell them they can’t handle a job and being a mum because thousands of them are doing exactly that, every day.”
When asked whether a pregnant woman could be a cabinet minister, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said, “Why on earth not?”
Mumsnet.com CEO, Justine Roberts, said: “The idea that pregnant women should be effectively debarred from high political office feels incredibly regressive.”
Sam Gould, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Romford, said: “I can’t believe we are hearing these comments in the 21st century!”
He continued: “It is shameful for our MP to say that women having children should be effectively banned from high political office.”
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