07 February 2021

Attorney General hails legal move on maternity leave as ‘landmark moment’

07 February 2021

The Attorney General has said she did not expect to have to change the law to win her right to six months’ maternity leave on full pay.

Suella Braverman 40, who is expecting her second child at the beginning of next month, now finds herself as the inspiration behind the Ministerial and Other Maternity Allowances Bill, which seeks to update the treatment of pregnant Cabinet ministers.

The proposals have already won the backing of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who told MPs last week it “is not acceptable in modern times” to expect someone to have to take leave to recover from childbirth to care for a newborn child or resign from office.

It quickly became apparent that there was a gap in the law

Mrs Braverman told The Sunday Telegraph: “This particular legal issue hadn’t come across my desk as Attorney General. It quickly became apparent that there was a gap in the law.”

Describing the situation as “a landmark moment for the Government”, she told the newspaper: “I’m very honoured to be making a little bit of history as the first Cabinet minister to have a baby while in office and to take maternity leave, and I’m incredibly grateful to the Prime Minister for seeing the need and leading the change.”

It is believed that Labour will not oppose the law changes which aims to give more flexibility for an extra payment to be made to a senior minister who goes on leave.

Mrs Braverman, whose last day in the office is February 26, said everyone is working within “a limited window in which to provide the legal basis for this to happen”.

Mrs Braverman feels the changes are necessary in order to do justice to the full-time job of being Attorney General.

She told The Sunday Telegraph that “somehow juggling it would not have done justice to the role, would not have done justice to me having a new baby”.

Mrs Braverman, who is expecting a daughter with her car firm manager husband Rael, said the legal change will be a fascinating story to tell her new child one day about how they were allowed to spend time together.

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