For those unable to watch, we are going to tweet on the #MOMABill this afternoon.
Penny Mordaunt moving second reading of the bill.
This bill means ministers do not have to resign when they become pregnant....(we will paraphrase things, Hansard will have exact wording later)
Jim Shannon DUP saying this has been a difficult time for parents, mothers, babies, asking for extended maternity pay. PM says this is beyond the scope of this bill but gov are looking at it. PM saying 'people' again.....
Sir Edward Leigh raises the biological woman issue! If we are going to adopt gender ideology we should not do it by stealth! PM says no intention to not use word 'women', it is a drafting issue...
PM talking about problems with laws around ministers that making providing maternity cover difficult. Now talking about paternity leave, and will deal with this in future. This bill does not address general parental leave, it is solely concerned with maternity leave.
Now briefly outlining details of bill. Who it covers, pay rates and length of leave, opposition office holders (at discretion of leader of opposition). Lots of technical detail. Bill has brought to light issues around language (! You don't say....)
Rachel Reeves (shadow) We will be supporting, also we would like to work on a cross party basis for further reforms on all forms of parental leave. Still only 220 female MPs compared to 430 men. Gives way to Jim Shannon who wants legislation to go further in all workplaces.
RR agrees. Another MP makes the same point (didn't catch his name). RR now talking about challenges women in Parliament face, namechecks some outstanding female politicians. Talks about role of 'new mothers' way to Patrick Campbell SNP who pays tribute to Aileen Campbell
RR noy talking about workers rights, then talks about 'pregnant women' and 'mothers'. Returns to talking about #MOMABill Another baby step 🙂
Asking for urgent exploration of further reforms in the 'Mother of Parliaments'
(Deputy speaker now setting time limits of 4 minutes)
Caroline Nokes now: 'no woman should be forced to resign her job to take maternity leave. Why has this not been addressed before?' 'Where is the GEO?' (Another veiled attack on Liz Truss?)
CN: swift action needed on adoption and surrogacy. WESC highlighted issues with covid situation and pregnant women. Gov. not found time for a bill that affects thousands but found time for one woman. Raises Equality Impact Assessments being overlooked (well CN, indeed)....
Kirsten Oswald: welcomes the bill but does not go far enough. Gaps in provisions for MPs and ministers. Saying things are 'too complicated' is a cop out (referring to explanatory notes). This should not be at Prime Ministerial discretion (referring to an amendment).
KO (SNP) is really pushing the time limit here.....'unacceptable to be in this situation in 2021'
Now we hear from Cherilyn Mackrory:
(She has a drum kit!) 'hope we will open the door for younger women''becoming a minister must be a viable option for them'. Talks about 'mums'.
CM: talking about pregnancy discrimination in general and particularly recently. Mentions post-natal depression. 'Women MPs are wives, daughters, sisters, friends'. Birth is always perilous for women.
Harriet Harman; supports bill and everything that has been said. 'Women play an invaluable role' 'better late than never'. Credit to govt. Talking of huge toll on women's bodies of having a baby. Economic impact at such a difficult time. (Who is cutting HH's fringe? It's v tidy)
Jackie Doyle-Price: Praises HH. 'Not all injustices can be tackled by legislation, many are behavioural.' Women are concerned with the language in the bill, they are anxious, sensitive about the language used. Our sex being dehumanised. In advancing rights don't want to alienate
Stella Creasy; only benefits a very small number of women, we need to do more....
Sending the message maternity leave is a perk. @PregnantScrewed taking govt. to court. If we can pass a bill in a day we can do so much more, esp for staff in this building. 'Deeds not words'
SC: I'm early in my 2nd pregnancy and I should not have to reveal that. Give every woman the same rights as the AG.
Dep speaker offers best wishes of house to SC.
Maria Miller: Reiterates best wishes to SC. Legislation is welcome, but being forced to leave a job affects thousands
MM: brings up redundancy issue mentioned by others. Putting forward a ten minute rule bill. Parental support proposals should be brought forward swiftly. Erskine May says nothing on pregnancy. Have to change the way we do business. Bill demonstrates how much more there is to do
Tonia Antoniazzi: Welcomes the bill but this must not be a two tier provision. It is a right not a privilege. We must remove barriers for new mothers in politics. I support the amendments on language; bill does not mention women or she;
the use of person is asymmetric with the rest of maternity law (quotes laws). This is excellent from TA.....
Do not rush this, it needs scrutiny.
Sir John Hayes: 'what we do should never trump who we are'. (Poor sound) Women should be supported to enable them to support their children. Praise for Suella Braverman. Civil servants have clumsily excluded the word 'women'!
'Bill is only a step on a long journey
that affirms the role women play in public life, and the role women play in wider society, but also a bill that's proud of motherhood.'
Wera Hobhouse: pays tribute to Becky ? NHS worker who had just given birth to her 4th child. We must do a lot better from now onwards.
Dehenna Davison has withdrawn.
Feryal Clark: Bill is long overdue but is to be welcomed. However I still have reservations; glaring gaps in the system. Women are still excluded from decision-making. I am scared my pregnancy will be used against me politically.
We must change the culture around maternity rights in this place.
Deputy Speaker offers warmest congratulations to FC.
Shaun Bailey: In this place we should be leading. We lose quality, insight, experiences, things that make our politics better.
Must ensure we close the 'gender' gap. Must not forget local govt. Levelling up must not exclude people based on their 'gender'. Role of a father as well as a mother is so important.
Sarah Owen withdrawn.
Richard Holden: Public life must be open to all. Mentions awareness of those with stillborn children. Legislation doesn't cover shared parental leave and paternity leave. Role of men in bringing up children is very important. (What about the menz.....)
Claire Hannah: Should have been addressed earlier and more broadly. Cultural and structural issues, time off for having a baby is not a perk. T&Cs of the bill contrast unfavourably with other public servants. Needs broadening out for adoption and paternity leave.
Yvette Cooper; Congratulations to the AG. Welcomes the legislation, does not deal with discrimination in workplaces across the country. When I needed maternity leave, nobody knew what to do, ask the Queen?! No excuse for a short term reactive approach. Need comprehensive approach
Joanna Cherry: Welcome the bill but it doesn't go far enough. Every blessing to the AG. Why does this bill make no mention of WOMEN. Reflection of idealogical language, denies woman and lesbians. Why is govt. not complying with EqA 2010. Repace the word 'person' with 'woman'
Let's talk about the erasure of women, most don't know this erasure of thei sex class is going on. Those of us who warn are often pilloried. We are called transphobic for advocating for sex-based rights. Sex is a protected characteristic for a good reason, discrimination against
women is rooted in our biology. Saying lesbians must be attracted to male bodies is homophobic. Let's reflect reality and the law and CEDAW.
<Go Joanna!!!!!!!!!>
Kim Johnson withdrawn
Christine Jardine: I both support this bill and remain astonished at its shortcomings. Brings up paternal and adoption leave (this is a bill about MATERNITY Christine!)
Supporting amendment to produce an EQI (equality impact assessment - us women are in favour of those!)
Alison Thewliss: An opportunity missed. Doesn't go far enough, doesn't talk about adoption etc (basically repeats previous speakers).
Cat Smith, shadow minister: Congrats to all the pregnant MPs (who strangely, are all women......cough)
Cuts to local govt. are leaving families without support.
Gives way to Meg Hillier (who was in committee)
MH: I was the first minister to have maternity leave 12 years ago, good to see changes now for cabinet ministers.
CS: An emergency is no way to bring about good governance. Covid has disrupted mothers' careers more than fathers'. BAME and disabled women over-represented in precarious contracts. Need to work cross-party; bill does not include paternity, shared, and adoption leave.
Penny Mordaunt: Congrats to pregnant MPs. Bill is very specific and limited to ministers needing maternity leave. Gives way to Meg Hillier who points out mat leave is not completely unprecedented in the House.
PM: Heard about the trailblazers and we all appreciated hearing that.
PM: although this bill is narrow, it will benefit those who come after us. Business Minister is looking at all the related issues. Thank you for cross party support and committment. Hope all sides will contribute, but not able to give timetable, hopefully before summer recess.
PM: Will address amendments in committee stage.
Ref to JDP; helpful amendment, will explain why that language was not possible. I do understand that the word 'person' or 'persons' can be in this context.
Only cabinet ministers are currently prevented from taking maternity leave
Correction: (mine) "I do understand that the word 'person' or 'persons' can be offensive in this context."
We will look at a raft of other issues in the future including paternity and adoption leave. I look forward to future debates. The ayes have it, bill read for 2nd time
Dep speaker: we now move to committee of the whole house. 'Exceptional circumstances mean I will remain in the speaker's chair though I am in the role as chair of the committee.'
Amendment 3 now
Kirsten Oswald: (This is about it being at the Prime Minister's discretion and the length only being 6 months; I'm not going to go into the technicalities. We at CfW are mainly concerned with the language in the bill today so a tea break for us!)
Jackie Doyle-Price: Highlights remarks of Tonia Antoniazzi.
Our amendment reflects concerns of women outside this House. I would prefer 'woman' but needs must.
Stella Creasy; no equality until fathers are also able to step up. All new mums must be able to access maternity leave in the House. WESC chair is doing 'an amzing job' (um, a lot of women would NOT agree Stella!)
Gives way to Jim Shannon; talks about issues with his PPS
SC; good to find common cause with the gentleman. We are missing an opportunity to go further.
Gives way to Meg Hillier; talks about taking 3 lots of maternity leave so it can be done. Leave is necessary to bond with our child and we should not be 'tethering' leave to the job.
SC: we need to properly take time out but cannot do this if nobody is covering your role.
Gives way to Wendy Chamberlain: MPs are never off due to email and social media.
SC: My cover was excellent. Barriers to diversity are blindingly obvious. There must not be a trade off
SC: between family life and public life. This would be unacceptable in any other workplace. EIA is essential. Tsunami of mum unemployment. 40% of employes avoid hiring a woman of 'child-bearing' age. Paying tribute to @PregnantScrewed
We have some of the worst maternity and paternity policies in Europe.
Gives way to Patrick Grady: parental leave should be shared for gender equality (um, when you push the baby out Patrick, get back to us......)
SC: better for women to take the majority of the leave due to 'gender' pay gap......(lots of technical stuff again).
Gives way to Meg Hillier: (more technical stuff on MP and staff employment conditions)
SC: (still going)
Gives way to Meg Hillier again (talking about her staff)
SC: (still speaking; we have no idea when we will find out the results of the amendments which is what we are interested in.....)
Gives way to Meg Hillier again......(this really is going on)
SC: gives way to Chris Loder (hoorah!)
CL: (tries to clarify rules on maternity leave for parliamentarians).
SC: There is no clarity
CL: Parliament has the ability to call on the taxpayer to support parents in Parliament. We must be careful not to give the impression
CL: that we are hard done by in this place.
Deputy Speaker: We must not stray too far from talking about the purpose of this bill which is for ministers.
SC: there is no formal maternity leave scheme. I am very conscious of time 🙄🙄 Iknow it's not a situation he
SC: will find himself in (really Stella? Why is that then? Is it because ONLY WOMEN HAVE BABIES? Apologies for shouting, I have no biscuits to ease my pain at listening to this)
SC: I don't want to have to take the government to court.
Deeds not words (finally sits down).
Sir John Hayes: A quote from 1984. Newspeak. Language matters. How have we got to a place where a Conservative govt. where legislation abolishes the words 'woman' and 'mother'
SJH: are these words now embarrassing? Our motivation (alongside the hon. member for Thurrock, JDP) is to affirm the existence of, work of, and the eternal value of womanhood and motherhood. I would do the same for men. Is this artlessness or heartlessness? It dehumanises.
SJH: It is why I introduce the two amendments in my name.
This is a matter of common sense. Never underestimate the power of language. It is an attempt to blur the picture, muddy the water, drafting difficulties, complications. It is a matter of principle.
SJH: Semantics matter. I am proud to move the amendmment in my time and will be seeking a divide on that at the end of this session.
Cherilyn Mackrory: admiration for mums in general. Despite how far we have come the majority of domestic labour, and childcare, is still being carried by women, in charge of the mental load.We should promote a society that supports family life; that starts with maternity leave.
CM: pleased to see stillbirth considered. Talks of her personal experience. Addressing the amendment of SJH and JDP; we must not remove women's hard fought rights. It is a biological woman who is pregnant and gives birth; I hope a compassionate way forward will be found.
CM: (repeats earlier speakers on a number of issues surrounding levels of maternity provision). Women should not have to negotiate. Sustained stress levels in pregnancy are risky for mum and baby. MPs are human beings. Pressure on new mums is unacceptable and female MPs are
CM: subject to abuse, especially when pregnant. Post natal depression is serious and even leads to suicide. We must back each other up. This bill will help tell young women that their contribution is valuable.
Wendy Chamberlain: this bill has support from all sides of the house.
WC; this legislation brings us up to the 1990's. Scope of bill should be expanded.
Gives way to Stella Creasey: financial issues of maternity leave.
WC: (more about general parental leave). Disappointing to see a bill excluding any parent who has not given birth (!!!!)
WC: (more on fathers and other jobs not relevant to debate really)
Gives way to Patrick Grady; more work needs to be done.
Gives way to Stella Creasy; most of our work is not seen on TV...
WC; we all work very hard. I do support cabinet ministers having paid leave
(I can't see how this can be done by 5pm at this rate.....)
Gives way to Meg Hillier: MPs get a good package unlike many women. We must recognise that.
WC: I acknowledge that. I am conscious of impact on small businesses of parental leave. Millions only get statutory provision
WC: reflect on my work with 50:50 parliament, most questions are around family.
(Well, they won't answer the question 'what is a woman' though!)
Equality is not at the heart of this government.
Gives way to Stella Creasy (again......)
SC: still not seeing an EIA
WC: legislation does not bring us into 21st century. Praises work of Jo Swinson. Usually a man at the lectern at press conferences. Govt has work to do on 'gender' equality. I support the amendment requesting an EIA. Also should do an EIA on covid
WC: should never be talking about one woman and the specifics of her case.
Richard Holden: expresses sympathy with amendment made by JDP. (Talks about fathers being an afterthought etc etc)
Cat Smith: amendments reflect the haste with which this bill was brought.
CS: Does not support SNP amendment as it removes choice. As to JDP amendment the language refers to the office not the person who holds it (??)
I support this bill unamended, perfect should not be the enemy of the good.
Penny Mordaunt: (restates lots of things that other people have stated). This is a highly complex issue.
Gives way to Stella Creasey: Parliament must offer a view on our employment status. Will govt commit to give time to this.
PM: Not within my personal gift but issues must be
PM: resolved. We will do an impact assessment and it is easily done for this bill.
Gives way to Stella Creasey: will the assessment look at everyone, all staff in Parliament.
PM: very important point. T&Cs for staff must be considered. Let's do it properly.
PM: turning to the amendments. Encourages those of us at home to put the kettle on as this will be rather dry. (Not to us Penny, we love to know what's in the small print....)
PM: amendment 3 would remove the mother's choice. It would undermine the role of prerogative power. Govt asks it be withdrawn.
Now to 15: I understand (JDP's) concern about the terminology and her practical suggestion. Also addresses points of (Joanna Cherry), I am sensitive to
the issues. Concerns have alsobeen raised about the possibility of a 'transman'to make use of the provisions. It is not the case that this is a trade-off between one or the other. It is a mistake to frame it in that way; it is about respecting women, and woman's rights and also
PM: it is compatible with respecting 'trans' rights too. On the specific poit (JC)made about the Equalities [sic] act, i have tested this with officials and it will not work for the legislation itself but I have taken her suggestions into consideration as well as those of (JDP)
PM: Tonia Antoniazzi listed some acts that predate the conventions that we are now operating under [we don't think this is correct, The Equality Act comes AFTER the drafting convention introduced by Jack Straw in 2007 as PM states!] It is not the case that we could legally and
PM: correctly use the word 'woman' in this particular piece of legislation, nor could we do so with the term minister because the designation of a 'person' happens after they have ceased to hold their existing ministerial office. (???!!!)
We can put the word 'minister'
PM: into the explanatory notes. It is a much less jarring term than 'person'. I hope this addresses the legitimate concerns (nope!) and that this bill is leagal and sound and in line with drafting conventions.
I do not think the clarity of the bill will be aided by
amendments 16 and 17. They offer only a partial alteration to the bill's terminology and will introduce unneccessary uncertainty and inconcistency in the bill. It covers all women who are pregnant or give birth and I ask that the amendments be withdrawn. Turning to 18 and 19
it is not new practice to use gender neutral language when drafting legislation. This is to correct the tendency to use particular pronouns which appear to assume that someone of a particular gender will be doing a particular job or a particular role [LIKE BEING PREGNANT!?]
This is not a new approach. The clarity of the bill would not be aided by these amendments; the act clearly covers all women who are pregnant or give birth. I appreciate the strength of feeling [BUT WILL COMPLETELY IGNORE IT].
Deputy speaker; I need to bring proceedings to an end
DS; on amendment 3, the noes have it.
On clauses 1 to 7 the ayes have it and that concludes proceedings in committee.
We move directly to third reading. The ayes have it.
This house now adjourns.

So that's it, we now go to the Lords and rely on peers to challenge the bill.

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More from @CforWomenUK

11 Feb
1/12 Plan for today; we expect the #MOMA bill (Ministerial and Other Maternity Allowances) debate to begin around 12.45pm.
It is still not too late to email if you haven't already done so, but Tweeting about this and tagging MPs will raise more awareness on social media.
2/12 We have the names (in speaking order), of all those who are listed to speak. We suggest you Tweet these MPs (especially if you are a constituent) and make your views known. Use the #MOMA hashtag.
3/12 Minister Penny Mordaunt (Portsmouth North)
Shadow Minister Rachel Reeves (Leeds West)
Caroline Nokes (Romsey and Southampton North)
Kirsten Oswald (East Renfrewshire)
Cherilyn Mackrory (Truro and Falmouth)
Ms Harriet Harman (Camberwell and Peckham)
Read 13 tweets
9 Feb
1/6 #SixWords
For the word ‘person’ substitute ‘woman’

It is beyond belief that it has taken governments 103 years to notice women in government may have babies. We are very pleased to see long overdue recognition of this fact.
But it is unacceptable that this bill talks about
2/6 ‘pregnant people’ and makes no mention of women at all. This is not a situation that will ever apply to a male minister, so why the obfuscation of language?

The Equality Act 2010 is very clear; it talks about pregnancy and maternity using ordinary language.
3/6 Women. She. Her.

We are encouraging everyone to contact their MP as a matter of urgency; there is less than 48 hours before this bill is presented. See our example letter here:…
Read 7 tweets

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