A heavily pregnant MP was allegedly told this week she had "made women look bad" when she left a House of Commons debate to get a snack.
Tulip Siddiq, a 33-year-old Labour MP who is seven months pregnant with her first child, had already been in the debate for over two hours when she left for a break.
On her return, 57-year-old Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing gave her a telling off in front of the Commons, allegedly telling her "not to play the pregnancy card" and even saying that she was "bringing down the whole of womankind”.
She added, "People will think that women can’t follow the conventions of the House because they’re pregnant."
One MP who witnessed the conversation told the Evening Standard, "She was really laying into her. It was intense."
The official report of the debate, which took place on Wednesday and was about Universal Credit welfare reforms, states that Siddiq arrived in the Chamber at 12.30pm, gave a speech at 2.30pm and left to buy food at 2.45pm.
When she left, Laing reportedly said, "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."
A witness told the Evening Standard that on Siddiq's return, "Tulip apologised, she didn’t mention being pregnant, but Madame Deputy Speaker was annoyed and said, 'Don’t play the pregnancy card with me.'"
Siddiq, who is the new MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, said the exchange highlighted how old fashioned the conventional rules for the House of Commons are.
She told the Evening Standard, "I think it shows the conventions of the House are outdated for anyone, let alone for pregnant women or people with health issues.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."