Pregnant MP in “forced to stand” row

Equalities minister Jo Swinson shrugs off outrage at not being given a seat

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Equalities minister Jo Swinson is seven months pregnant and, earlier this week, was spotting standing through the Prime Minister’s Questions session in the House of Commons. Cue outrage in Westminster, with political commentators saying it was outrageous that she hadn’t been offered a seat.

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“Quite remarkable that no MP has offered Jo Swinson… a seat. Really shocking lack of manners and decency,” tweeted James Forsyth of The Spectator magazine.

But Jo, whose baby is due on Christmas Day, quickly let it be known she’d been happy to stand. “If Jo had wanted to sit down, she would have asked to sit,” said one of her aides. “She is quite capable of fulfilling her functions as a minister – including standing and walking – while she is pregnant. She is not somehow severely incapacitated.”

Prime minister David Cameron even weighed in to the row, with his spokesperson saying the PM thinks folk should give up their seat for a pregnant woman. “If we take the example of public transport,” he said, “if you see someone who is in greater need of a seat than yourself, then offering that seat is the right thing to do.”

Jo later joked on Twitter: “About to get on the Tube – seat offers welcome & definitely not sexist :o) ”

So what do you think? Should pregnant women always be offered a seat? Or should they only be offered one if they ask? Have people offered you a seat on public transport when they’ve seen you’re pregnant – or did they just clock your bump and stay where they were? Do tell…

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