Documents to download

In November 2020, the Attorney General, Suella Braverman, announced that she was expecting her second child in early 2021. Under current rules, Ms Braverman would have to resign to be able to take maternity leave. To avoid this the Government has introduced the Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Bill.

The bill would create a discretionary power to enable the prime minister to designate a minister wishing to take maternity leave as a ‘minister on leave’. This would mean that she would be able to take six months paid maternity leave, subject to certain conditions, and return to her post after. It would also mean that the individual appointed to provide cover for the minister would receive a ministerial allowance equivalent to their salary for up to six months. In addition, the bill would provide for salaried Opposition office holders to take six months paid maternity leave without having to resign.

The bill does not make provision for paternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave. These issues, among others, were raised during the bill’s passage through the House of Commons.

The bill completed its Commons stages without amendment on 11 February 2021. It received cross-party support. However, during both second reading and committee stage, MPs raised concerns about matters including: the narrow scope of the bill; the lack of an equalities impact assessment for the bill; the use of gender-neutral language; the time limit of six months for paid leave; and the discretionary nature of the provisions.

Outside of Parliament, although the bill has been generally welcomed, some have argued that the scope of the bill is too narrow. They say that the bill should be used to address wider issues with statutory maternity pay and maternity leave for MPs.

Documents to download

Related posts

  • Infected blood scandal: Background, impacts, interim compensation and inquiry outcomes

    Between 1970 and the early 1990s, more than 30,000 NHS patients were given blood transfusions, or treatments which used blood products, contaminated with hepatitis C or HIV. Over 3,000 people have died as a result, and thousands live with ongoing health conditions. The infected blood inquiry has reported, calling for a range of measures, including immediate compensation, public memorials, and for lessons to be learned in medicine, government and the civil service.

    Infected blood scandal: Background, impacts, interim compensation and inquiry outcomes
  • Role of the prime minister’s trade envoys

    The prime minister’s trade envoys are a network of parliamentarians appointed to engage with countries where the UK government has identified trade and investment opportunities. There were 35 trade envoys covering 58 markets as of 16 May 2024. The government has said trade envoys support the UK’s economic growth by promoting trade in key markets. However, some parliamentarians have sought clarity on aspects of the trade envoy programme.

    Role of the prime minister’s trade envoys