Labour MP Stella Creasy is considering pursuing the government in court if it changes the law to allow only ministers to take paid time off after having a baby.
The Ministerial and Other Maternity Allowances Bill, which seeks to update the treatment of pregnant cabinet ministers, was announced on February 4 and comes three months after attorney general Suella Braverman said she was expecting her second child.
The bill, which PA understands Labour will not oppose, would allow Braverman to keep her position for six months on full pay. Under current rules, Braverman would have to resign if she wanted to take time off following the birth.
The bill has the backing of prime minister Boris Johnson, who told MPs last week it “is not acceptable in modern times” to expect someone to have to take leave to recover from childbirth to care for a newborn child or resign from office.
Creasy, who was the first MP to be given locum maternity cover, told the Guardian she was also pregnant with her second child and there was no difference between her and Braverman.
The Walthamstow MP had even received legal advice that the bill was discriminatory and said any case would be intended to highlight the situation faced by women in all sectors.
“It’s classic suffragettes – ‘deeds, not words’… if there is not progress tomorrow, if ministers’ words don’t lead to action, then I am prepared to take this further,” Creasy said.
“Thousands of pregnant women are facing risks in the workplace, including the risk of the loss of their job. The message that we’re sending is that we treat maternity leave like a benefit, like a company car. ”
The MP said it was “terrifying” to reveal she was pregnant in a newspaper, particularly given her history of failed pregnancies.
“But if this goes well, I have just as much of a deadline as the attorney general, as do the other pregnant women across the country.”