Yorkshire MP continues colleague's campaign to support bereaved parents

A Yorkshire MP hopes to champion his Conservative colleague's campaign to improve the support available to parents coping with the loss of a child as he presents a new Bill to Parliament today.
Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin HollinrakeThirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake
Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake

The Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake hopes to succeed where Colchester Will Quince was defeated, as he brings forward legislation to introduce statutory leave and pay for bereaved families.

He is one of four Yorkshire MPs presenting Private Members Bills this afternoon, with Sir Greg Knight pushing for reforms to parking regulations and Stephanie Peacock calling for changes to employment rights.

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Holly Lynch will also table a Bill to extend the National Living Wage to 18 to 24-year-olds, while her Labour colleague Chris Bryant will continue her campaign to crack down on violence against emergency services staff.

Mr Quince drew praise from MPs across the House in 2015 when he spoke out about his experience of losing a child in an effort to encourage ministers to improve access to bereavement suits in maternity units.

His son was diagnosed with a serious genetic condition at 20 weeks, and was stillborn at full term in 2014.

Last year he took his campaign further, tabling a ten minute rule motion that called for the introduction of statutory pay and leave for parents who lose their child at a later stage.

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Under current laws, a mother and father who lose their baby are entitled to full maternity and paternity leave. Speaking at the time, he argued that it "cannot be right" that a parent who loses a baby at birth is entitled to two weeks off work, but someone who loses a child at seven months or after a few years gets nothing.

Mr Quince's Parental Bereavement Leave Bill failed to get a second reading, but Mr Hollinrake is aiming to introduce similar reforms under his own Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, he said he hoped the changes would give affected parents "time to grieve and put the building blocks in place to move on".

"I think anybody who has been a parent has been affected by something like this - be it miscarriage or something that's gone wrong. I was aware of some of these difficulties personally," he said.

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"At the moment, while a company might offer compassionate leave, there is no requirement to do that. This will put in law that anyone who faces a tragedy like this will be entitled to two weeks leave at statutory pay rates.

"Will tried to take his own Bill forward but ran out of time, like many people do. When I got drawn out of the Private Members Bill ballot Will contacted me and I was delighted to try and take this forward again."

Mr Hollinrake also pointed to Yorkshire residents Annika and James Dowson as further inspiration behind the Bill. Following the stillbirth of their first child Gypsy, the couple helped to raise £134,00 for a new maternity bereavement suite at Scarborough hospital.