Theo Clarke MP for Stafford returned to parliament today (Monday) following six months’ maternity leave caring for her daughter.
She swore an oath of allegiance to King Charles in the House of Commons – something Mrs Clarke had been allowed to delay with the permission and support of The Speaker while she was caring for her baby. To see the video of Mrs Clarke taking the oath please click here.
Mrs Clarke also attended a meeting in Downing Street where she raised her top local priorities for Stafford ahead of the upcoming Budget.
She also started her junior government role as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) at the Department for Business and Trade working with the Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch.
“It’s good to be back following the birth of my beautiful daughter in August and I have received a warm welcome from MPs and parliamentary staff from across the House,” said Mrs Clarke.
“I came to parliament following the death of Her Majesty and, of course, constituency meetings and other work have been happily juggled around my parental duties these past months.
“I would like to thank everyone who has been so supportive including colleagues, constituents, and my family.
“I would also like to thank The Speaker for allowing me to delay taking the oath of allegiance. It shows how important he takes the matter of maternity leave.
“But now it is back to work. I am looking forward to having the honour again of sitting on the green benches in the House of Commons representing Stafford.
“My PPS work will also allow me to fly the flag for Staffordshire businesses and promote exports from our area to drive growth, jobs and the local economy.”
Mrs Clarke thanked all those who sent their good wishes and support following her detailing how she has received abuse and unkind comments for taking maternity leave.
Social media trolls and a minority of constituents sent abusive messages demanding she went back to work and not care for her daughter.
The MP added: “I am pleased I spoke about my experience because I believe a woman in the 21st century can and should have a job and be a parent.
“The reaction of so many was heartening. I have been contacted with good wishes from all over the country and seen palpable anger too from many who are very disturbed to learn there are still people out there who feel a woman should not be an MP and a mother of a newborn.”