A UK politician has accused fellow members of a Labour Party-affiliated organisation of "repeatedly" telling her to "withdraw from positions of leadership" after having a baby.
Speaking to The Telegraph podcast for mothers 'The Juggling Act', Labour and Cooperative MP Stella Creasy said that "various positions within the Labour movement" said she "shouldn’t stand" for senior roles in the party as she gave birth in 2019.
The Walthamstow MP claimed that member said to her "Yeah but you’ve just had a baby, so this isn’t right for you" and that she was discouraged from a bid to stand for the Cooperative Party National Executive Committee (NEC) due to her new baby.
While she did ultimately made it onto the NEC, the new mother said she was "genuinely shocked’ by the insinuation that having a child meant others presumed that she is now "less competent, less capable, less interested".
@stellacreasy told us why it's crucial employers stop pretending people don't have children, and even said she'd been treated as less capable in the workplace since having a baby of her own... 😡— Theodora Louloudis (@T_Louloudis) January 6, 2021
Subscribe now for free! pic.twitter.com/F4yASwwS2Z
Creasy also said that she was "reprimanded" by another MP for bringing her daughter into Westminster during a debate. She further claimed another woman in Government said she wanted ‘to be treated like a victim’ when she tried to secure cover for her maternity leave.
“Well if the Labour movement – which is supposed to be the movement championing equality and championing women’s rights – thinks that somehow having a baby writes you out of public life, what hope have we got for the rest of society?”, Creasy told The Juggling Act.
In response, the Labour Party re-affirmed that they take "all complaints of discrimination extremely seriously, and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate action is taken".
The Cooperative Party, which is affiliated with Labour, echoed the statement saying that it takes all complaints and allegations about all forms of discrimination seriously. We require all members to abide by the rules of our Party".
In June 2020, Creasy spoke out about MPs not receiving automatic payment while on parental leave.
She told Victoria Derbyshire of the BBC that the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which regulates politicians' pay, made it "impossible" for her to carry out duties to her constituents following the birth of her child.
"They told me they don’t recognise that MPs go on maternity leave", she said. "They then graciously said if I wanted to write an application to prove my worth they would have a think about it and whether they could provide the money".
MPs Stella Creasy and Kemi Badenoch sworn in with baby daughters strapped to them pic.twitter.com/26fDU2QTnq— The Sun (@TheSun) December 18, 2019
She claimed that elected officials have to choose between hiding from constituents in order to spend time with their newborns or "beg their colleagues to fill the gaps".
IPSA has issued support for efforts to include maternity leave in the absences which it offers to cover.