Pregnant women ‘can be in Cabinet’

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Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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David Cameron’s official spokesman has dismissed suggestions that pregnant women should not be appointed to the Cabinet, after a Conservative MP raised questions over whether Labour’s Rachel Reeves could give the job her “full attention” while expecting a baby.

Ms Reeves told the Daily Mail that she plans to go on maternity leave within weeks of the general election, but still hopes to be appointed Work and Pensions Secretary if Ed Miliband wins power on May 7.

Conservative MP A ndrew Rosindell told the paper: “I don’t want to say someone who is having a baby is not eligible to be a Cabinet minister, but I certainly think perhaps the demands of that particular job will require someone to give it their full attention.

“I don’t expect Rachel Reeves to be in the Cabinet after the election because I expect the Conservatives to win, but clearly people need to be put in the positions they can handle.”

Asked whether the Prime Minister believed a pregnant woman could serve in the Cabinet, Mr Cameron’s official spokesman told a regular Westminster media briefing: “Why on Earth not?”

The spokesman added: “The Prime Minister’s views around maternity leave (entitlements) is that they are universal, they apply to everyone and it is entirely a matter for individual families to take the decisions that they think are right for them, and th e Government’s job is to support them in those decisions they take.”

Shadow work and pensions secretary Ms Reeves, 36, is due to have her second child on June 15 and said she would begin maternity leave shortly before that date and stay away from work until September.

But she said she believes she will have time before her break to abolish the so-called bedroom tax – the reduction of benefits for claimants deemed to have more living space than they require, which ministers refer to as ending a “spare room subsidy”.

Ms Reeves told the Mail: “I’m having a child and I shall be on maternity leave for the early weeks and months of the next government.

“The first thing I would do is abolish the bedroom tax. That’s something I can do really quickly. My baby’s due in June and I want to cancel the bedroom tax before I go on maternity leave.”

Published: Monday 23rd February 2015 by The News Editor

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