Luciana Berger: I was a ‘slummy mummy’

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Luciana Berger: I was a ‘slummy mummy’

Jewish parliamentarian speaks about the difficulties of juggling her role as an MP with being a new mother

Francine Wolfisz is the Features Editor for Jewish News.

Luciana Berger has revealed she was asked to attend late night votes in Parliament – despite having only given birth to her daughter just weeks before – during a debate on giving MPs with babies the right to vote by proxy.

Speaking in the House of Commons last Thursday, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree said she was asked to travel more than 200 miles to London in June, when her daughter Amelie was just three months old, and again in September.

On that occasion, the 36-year-old, who is married to music manager Alistair Goldsmith, added: “I was in the Tea Room with my baby until after 10 o’clock at night. I can see Members bobbing their heads—arguably, that was not the right place for her at that time of night. As a breastfeeding mum, on all those occasions my baby came into the House with me.”

She jested that she was at times, “a slummy mummy”, but then described the challenges of every parent having to travel with a young child.

“As any parent out there with a newborn will know, it is a challenge on some days just to take a shower—let alone to be able to get out of the house, get to the station, change the baby on a Pendolino train moving at 125 miles an hour, apologise to passengers for the projectile vomit and the crying, get on a tube, often using the escalators and stairs because there is no lift, and to ensure that no piece of important kit is forgotten for an important overnight trip.

“For some babies, that will be the first time they are outside the homes and places that they are used to. It can be quite traumatic for them.”

Proxy voting, she told the Commons, would mean, “the representative role of any MP can continue without disruption.”

Reflecting on campaigns to help improve early years provision for children, she added: “We need to lead by example and give the children of MPs the best start too.”

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom has asked the Commons Procedure Committee to look into the issue of proxy voting and baby leave.

Baby leave

"…and I share with this House, I was a slummy mummy". Watch my speech on #babyleave >>>

Posted by Luciana Berger, Labour & Co-operative MP for Liverpool Wavertree on Thursday, 1 February 2018

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