An exclusive BMG poll, commissioned by the Evening Standard, reveals that a majority of the public want Commons rules overhauled to be more helpful to pregnant MPs.
Last month Tulip Siddiq, a heavily pregnant Labour MP, was reportedly told by Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing, that she had “made women look bad” after breaking House of Commons rules by leaving a debate to eat after being in the Chamber over two hours.
Subsequently, BMG Research asked the British public whether House of Commons rules should be changed to make it more amenable to pregnant MPs. The results revealed 57% agreed, 27% did not and 16% don’t know. A majority of supporters for all the major political parties feel the same, with Labour and Liberal Democrats feeling most strongly that the rules should be changed (Labour – 71% Yes / Lib Dem – 61% Yes).
Readers can interrogate the data for themselves by toggling with the drop-down menu in the chart below.
The data also reveals those with dependent children feel more strongly that the rules should be changed. Some 62% of those with dependent children felt that the rules should be changed, and almost two thirds (65%) of women with dependent children felt the same.
Almost three quarters of the British public (72%) said they did not think being an MP is a ‘family friendly’ job (12% did, 16% DK). Those with dependent children are more likely to agree being an MP is not family friendly (75%) than those without dependent children (69%). The Evening Standard reported this has “immediately led to concerns that mothers and fathers who could bring a wealth of experience to the Commons are being put off becoming an MP.”
Our Research Director, Dr Michael Turner, said “These results are striking, a clear reflection that the public feel the commons should modernise some of its practices. It is rare nowadays, for the public to be openly supportive of members of parliament, but these results are a clear acknowledgment that being an MP can be both tough and a strain on their family life. This poll shows that there is wide-spread support to make the commons a much more inclusive place.”
When asked if they thought limiting parliament’s operating hours to between 8am and 6pm is a good idea, the British public were more polarised in their views. 39% agreed with the change, but 38% disagreed; 23% don’t know.
An article based on these polling results, released by the Evening Standard, can be found here.
Data tables containing a breakdown of the results can be found here.
For further details about this poll, and any other results from our polling series, please feel free to get in touch by email or phone.
Lauren Harris – Research Executive
0121 333 6006