A Labour candidate who is expecting her first child has spoken of the guilt placed on career women and politicians who decide to have a family.

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Jessica Asato, who is standing for Norwich North, echoed calls in a new report “Counting Women In”, which wants MPs to get a maternity or paternity guarantee.

Parliamentarians are not currently entitled to statutory maternity cover, nor any grant or allowance which would enable them to employ additional administrative support, because they are self-employed.

Speaking about the issue on the BBC, Ms Asato, who is expecting her first child in December, said: “I think anyone who stands for parliament knows that it is a tall order to take on.

“Standing as a representative is, I think, one of the most honourable things you can do for your country. However, I don’t think it should be an unusual decision to decide to start a family and decide to run for parliament.

“Surely one of the big issues we have, and so many of the public say it, is that MPs are just not normal...so, surely it would make parliament more representative if they came from all walks of life, and that includes women who decided to embark on a family with young children.”

Questioned about former foreign office minister Mark Simmonds’ comments that he did not have enough time to see his family, Ms Asato said: “Look, I think there is guilt placed on all women who decide to have a family and who also want to have a career or do something to represent their community. That is part and parcel of our society and the way in which they place guilt on women’s choices.”

The Counting Women In report said the UK Parliament had fallen from 59th for female representation prior to the 2010 general election to 65th in the world ranking of parliaments.

She said: “More and more research shows that gender balanced groups in business make better decisions, so surely it follows that the biggest decision making body of all – parliament – should be striving for equal representation of women?

Sarah Redshaw, managing editor of BabyCentre.co.uk, which has a base in Norwich, said: “It is important for career women to feel they have an option to have both a job and a family. Although returning to their career can may make some mums feel guilty, it’s about finding a solution that works for the family and happy parents equal happy children.”

Do you think enough is done in parliament to help women who want to have children? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

11 comments

  • LARSON E WHIPSNADE is your real name then? If this forum is such a "farce" why are you wasting your your precious time on it?

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    norman hall

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • Lets not forget that all MPs are volunteers who should enter politics with full knowledge of the commitment needed. She should not have to worry about her family life. The H of C is only open half the year and with the pairing agreement she could go the whole five year term with only very few appearances. Time in her constituency is also up to her. There is no time sheet to be filled in. On top of this MPs do receive a sizeable staffing allowance.and salary plus expenses. So,theoretically she could employ her partner, taxpayer funded, to be a stay at home worker cum baby sitter. All in all , MPs do look after themselves very well , regardless of gender. It could be regarded as the best rewarded part time job in the country. One more thing she can look forward to is the very good cuisine at the H of C. Taxpayer subsidised of course.

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    norman hall

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • @larson its quite clear to everyone who comments on this page that you are the biggest labour troll going

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    milecross

    Monday, September 1, 2014

  • Keep 'em coming John...and a wonderful example of why this farce of a forum has virtually no women posters. They have better things to do and more sense than to troll away all day and night under a telephone directory of aliases on here.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Sunday, August 31, 2014

  • This is a party obsessed with . PC . This is why we now have the scandel at labour controlled rotherham

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    milecross

    Sunday, August 31, 2014

  • Larson - nearly right. Not chum but a word that forms part of a famous comedian name, namely Tony Hanxxxx

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    BG

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • We are fast approaching what will be one of the most unpredictable General elections of modern times. Can someone please explain to me how a woman, with a new born baby, is going to be able to devote all her time and energy 247 to fight said election. It seems Ms Asato is another one of those women who wants it all and I don`t think she is being at all fair on the people of Norwich North and her Labour colleagues. It was her choice to start a family so I don`t see why she thinks she should be given special attention or more importantly additional funding from the public purse. She knew ages ago she would be Labour`s PPC. Her choice as far as I am concerned. But I suppose she has an ulterior motive in seeking the mumsnet vote.

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    BG

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • Planet Troll....lifeless , no atmosphere , inhabited by brain dead zombies.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • 'Ms' Asato is obviously from a different planet.

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    Norfolk John

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • And let us not forget..... Chancellor of the Exchequer Reginald Maudling ( Tory ) left a note to his Labour successor James Callaghan in 1964 saying : "Good luck, old chum ... Sorry to leave it in such a mess.

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    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • Let us not forget that a labour treasury minister left a note for his conservative successor on leaving office after the last election saying that he was sorry but Labour had spent everything and there was no money left to do anything with, amazing how things have improved in the last few years

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    blister

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

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