UK Parliament: Tulip Siddiq embarrassed

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Themorningbellbd.com international desk, Jan 9: Heavily pregnant Labour MP Bangladeshi origin Tulip Siddiq was allegedly told not to `play the pregnancy card` by the Commons` female Deputy Speaker after leaving a debate to grab a snack, reports agencies.

Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing, 57, on Wednesday accused of telling Tulip Siddiq she had `made women look bad` and warned her: `You`re bringing down the whole of womankind`.

Ms Siddiq, 33, who is seven months pregnant with her first child, had been in the chamber for more than two hours when she decided to take a comfort break.

But when she came back 45 minutes later Mrs Laing is said to have called her over and given her a dressing down in front of another shocked MP.

The Deputy Speaker was angry the new MP did not stay in the chamber for long enough after she had spoken – a Commons convention.

A witness told the Standard: `Tulip apologised, she didn`t mention being pregnant, but Madame Deputy Speaker was annoyed and said, `Don`t play the pregnancy card with me`.

The married pregnant MP then apologised again and explained but Mrs Laing, who is divorced with one son, allegedly repeated she should not have left, adding: `You`ve made women look bad. People will think that women can`t follow the conventions of the House because they`re pregnant.

`You`re bringing down the whole of womankind`, she is said to have added.

Another witness said: `She was really laying into her. It was intense`.

Ms Siddiq told the Standard that the incident did happen, after the fellow MP spoke out, saying: `I think it shows the conventions of the House are outdated for anyone, let alone for pregnant women or people with health issues. In certain cases people should be given leeway to leave without having to go through an administrative process. Elsewhere in society that would just be common sense.`

Ms Siddiq is considering making a complaint about the incident, which was brought to light by the furious politician who overheard the incident.

Mrs Laing is said to have been furious that the MP gave her speech but had not sat to hear several more afterwards.

The new MP for Hampstead and Kilburn arrived at 12.30pm on Wednesday for a debate on Universal Credit.

Footage from the Commons shows she spoke at 2.30pm before leaving at 2.45pm.

After she walked out Mrs Laing told the remaining MPs: `If one makes a speech in the Chamber, it is courteous and required by the rules of the House that one stays in the Chamber certainly for the following speech and usually for at least two speeches thereafter. The people who have not done so today know who they are.`

Around 45 minutes later the MP returned and she was called to the Speaker`s Chair for a telling off.

Mrs Laing, who has been a Tory MP in Essex since 1997, spoke in favour of more family friendly hours for MPs as part of her successful campaign to be one of Speaker John Bercow`s three deputies.

She had her son Matthew just a week after the 2001 election but was back speaking in the Commons just ten days after giving birth. Her 19 year marriage to husband Alan Laing ended ten months later.

It was claimed at the time her computer consultant husband Alan had an affair with a colleague and that their marriage was `a front` and the couple had `shamelessly posed as a family unit` when Mr Laing was actually living with his mistress.

She said at the time: `To me, my marriage has not been a sham`.

Ms Laing, who was a shadow justice minister in 2009, was forced to pay back £25,000 in the MPs` expenses scandal and saw off an attempt to have her deselected as MP for Epping Forest.

She won a vote of confidence from her local party after anger that she sold her state-funded second home for a £1million profit without paying capital gains tax by calling it her `primary residence`.

After an outcry, she offered to pay back the money as a `moral gesture`.

MailOnline has contacted Mrs Laing to allow her to respond to the allegations.

Ms Siddiq will go on maternity leave in March – and issue that has been controversial after Tory MP Andrew Rosindell suggested pregnant MPs should not take maternity leave.

Two months ago Tracey Crouch announced she will become the first Conservative minister to take maternity leave.

The MP revealed she told David Cameron she `wasn`t sure` about taking the coveted sports minister role, after suffering a miscarriage during the general election.

She told the Spectator magazine the loss of her baby `changed her priorities` and made her `realise how much I wanted children.`

On revealing her misgivings to the prime minister, she explained: `I said I wasn`t sure because I wanted to start a family.

`I said to him, `I`m 40, I want to start a family, that I`d had a miscarriage during the election and it had changed my priorities on life in general.`

Now she is pregnant again and due to give birth in February, making her the first Conservative MP to take maternity leave.

She added: `I don`t want to be Supermum. I mean, I want to be a super mum, but not Supermum or Wonderwoman`.

`I`ve worked really hard to be a good MP and it will be difficult to completely stop doing constituency work while on maternity leave, but at the same time the first few months of a baby`s life are so incredibly precious I will want to spend every moment possible enjoying them.`