‘Person’ changed to ‘mother’ in new maternity rights Bill after backlash


MINISTERS have changed “person” to “mother” in the new maternity rights Bill after a backlash from peers and MPs.

A furious row had erupted over whether to keep the words woman or female in the text.

The word 'person' has been changed to 'mother' in the new maternity rights Bill

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The word ‘person’ has been changed to ‘mother’ in the new maternity rights BillCredit: Alamy

It had read “the person is pregnant” and “the person has given birth to a child” — but this will now be altered.

The Government accepted an amendment from Lord Lucas to try to see off a rebellion in the Lords last night.

A coalition of Labour, Tory and crossbench peers had joined forces to oppose the move.

Lord Lucas said: “Words matter, especially on the long road to equality.

“The use of the word ‘person’ in the Bill erases the reality that, overwhelmingly, maternity is undertaken by women and not by men.

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“To leave ‘person’ in place would be a step backwards in women’s equality.”

Tory Baroness Noakes, one of the main critics of the earlier wording of the legislation, hailed the change as a “great day for women”.

Lord True said the Government had listened to the strength of feeling in the House and accepted the amended wording would be “legally acceptable”.

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