CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq expecting second baby

MP vows to campaign for help for mothers in the House of Commons, including proxy voting

13 September, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Tulip Siddiq and Christian Percy

TULIP Siddiq has renewed her call to make life in the House of Commons easier for MPs who are new parents as she revealed she is expecting her second child.

The Hampstead and Kilburn MP has campaigned for parliamentary reforms including the ability to cast votes remotely. She told the New Journal: “If they still haven’t brought in proxy voting by March next year, I guess my new baby’s first visit to Westminster will be to vote against Brexit.”

Ms Siddiq gave birth to her first child, daughter Azalea, at the Royal Free Hospital in April 2016 – between two general election victories in her constituency. The 35-year-old, a former Camden councillor, has since talked about the difficulties for new mothers  in the House of Commons, and the pressure to return to Westminster as soon as she possibly could, despite an emergency caesarian section after a 40-hour labour.

Both Ms Siddiq and Azalea caught an infection afterwards and spent nine days in hospital before mother and baby could go back to their home in Swiss Cottage.

“Even in those nine days while I was in the hospital bed I had to handle emails and sign things off from my office simply because there was no one else to do it and I could not nominate someone to take care of crucial matter,” she said.

Ms Siddiq had made headlines two months before when she fell foul of parliamentary contraventions and was admonished by deputy speaker Eleanor Laing for leaving a two-hour debate to get some food.

Ms Siddiq said her husband Christian Percy, the director of academic performance at King’s College London, would be changing his work schedule to look after their expanded family while she was at the Commons.

“He’s a feminist dad,” she said. “He is going to go freelance to support his wife’s career.” She said her family were being looked after by midwives at the Royal Free and that the new arrival was due in the New Year.

Tulip Siddiq is four months into her pregnancy

Heavy morning sickness, however, may rule her out of an appearance at Labour’s conference in Liverpool later this month. “I’ve had heartburn too,” she added. “I was hoping this pregnancy would be easier than the first one but so far it’s been very tough.” The couple married in 2013 shortly after Labour members chose Ms Siddiq to take the baton from Glenda Jackson in the north of the borough.

“I would love to have another daughter and carry on the flower-naming trend we have,” said Ms Siddiq, whose aunt is the prime minister of Bangladesh, “but we would be happy either way. I hope the next baby is as happy and healthy as Azalea. She’s at nursery now and is learning to speak English, Bengali, Chinese and Hebrew.”

Although she increased her majority to beyond 15,000 votes last year, Ms Siddiq on Monday learned that she could face a tougher fight to hold her seat at the next general election when Boundary Commission proposals cut up her constituency to remove wards around Kilburn where Labour generally polls well.

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