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What Nick Clegg wrote on mumsnet about shared parental leave and he didn't mince his words

October 28, 2014 11:18 AM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

"Let's bankrupt Britain's businesses and, once we're done, burn the buildings to the ground.

"This is what you might have thought I'd said last week, if you saw some of the reaction to my plans to increase fathers' rights when it comes to shared parental leave."

Nick Clegg was writing on Mumsnet at the weekend, dealing with some of the misleading and downright misogynistic claims made in the media about the scheme. As he made clear:

"From now on the Civil Service will pay the same to fathers who take parental leave after their babies are born as it pays mothers who do so.

"Let's be clear: we are not doubling the leave and pay that is available, we are just making sure it can be shared between mothers and fathers as they see fit. Whether it's mums or dads who take the leave, they'll receive equal pay - and we'd like businesses to follow suit.

"A significant change, yes, but highly controversial? I didn't think so, until I saw the outrage it prompted from parts of the right-wing press.

"Such a step, they declared, will be 'crippling' to taxpayers and business. But why, when there is no extra cost to the economy attached? For every day a man spends at home, a woman will be back at work, so what's the problem?

"What the critics are really saying is that companies can afford to lose a woman for a few months, but they can't afford to lose a man. The message is loud and clear: women, we don't need you. Or, at least, we don't need you as much."

He goes on:

"It feels ridiculous for me to even write in this article that women are as valuable to their employers as their male counterparts - of course they are! - and yet it seems the flamingly obvious still needs to be said.

"What utter rubbish - and a sorry glimpse into the dated misogyny that still stalks part of the British establishment.

"Thankfully the dinosaurs and naysayers are not reflective of the country at large. The broader reaction was much more positive. Indeed, many businesses understand the difference a contented, valued workforce can make to their bottom line."

He concludes:

"So the only thing that will be "crippled" by new, fairer leave rules is the outdated assumption that women should be in the kitchen while men bring home the bacon. There is certainly still a lot more to be done before mothers and fathers enjoy real equality of choice, and we won't get there overnight. But we won't get there at all if the everyday misogynists get their way. So long as my party has a say over things, they won't."