This is not about me. It’s about the rights of all women and the obstacles that stop us playing a full role in our politics
Any parent of a newborn knows it’s hard to stay awake, let alone focus on anything else. Maternity leave matters – it’s good for our health, our children and our economy.
It is a peculiarity of our legislature that as an MP, I don’t have any employment rights – we might make laws, but we don’t impose these particular ones on ourselves. Consequently, I found myself high on morphine speaking to ministers about Afghanistan, having just given birth to my second child, to ensure my constituents’ concerns could be heard. Although it is illegal to require a woman to work in the first two weeks after childbirth, no maternity cover meant that, with three murders, heavy flooding and a cost-of-living crisis, it was simply not possible to switch off my email or my phone.