An MP on maternity leave has received “abusive messages” from some constituents for taking time off to look after her baby, her office said.
Stroud Conservative MP Siobhan Baillie, who gave birth last week, has had a “number of abusive emails, calls and social media posts”.
Ms Baillie’s office said it would have “no problem reporting individuals to police”.
It said she planned to take a “minimum of four weeks maternity leave”.
Senior Parliamentary Assistant Harriet Butcher, from Ms Baillie’s office, said: “Sadly, as an office, we have received an number of abusive emails, calls and social media posts from constituents in regards to Siobhan’s decision to take maternity leave following the birth of her daughter last week.
“These individuals seem to think the 2010 Equality Act does not apply to a woman because she is an MP.
“It does apply and Siobhan has an absolute right enshrined in law to take maternity leave. Presently, it is her intention to do so for a minimum of four weeks, which is considerably less than she is legally entitled to.”
‘Not an act of God’
Ms Butcher said comments had included “having a baby is not an excuse for not responding to my email” and another constituent wrote “maternity leave is not an act of God – it is a normal life’s circumstance that should have been planned well in advance for”.
She said: “Why anyone would be ‘astonished’ a mother would want to take time off to care for and bond with her daughter we find incredible, especially when thorough arrangements have been made to ensure it is very much business as usual while Siobhan is away.”
Ms Butcher added the “views of these individuals are thankfully very much in the minority” and said her team was receiving support from “all the other Gloucestershire MPs and their offices”.
Maternity rights in the UK
- Women are entitled to take up to 52 weeks maternity leave
- They must take at least two weeks’ leave after the baby is born (or four weeks if they work in a factory)
- They are eligible to be paid for six weeks at 90% of their average weekly earnings and 33 weeks at £149 per week or 90% of their average weekly earnings (if lower)
- Fathers can take two weeks’ statutory paternity leave at £149 a week