Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie has dismissed claims made by political rival and former MP David Drew that she failed to engage with midwives over the current crisis in maternal care.
The former Stroud Labour MP took to social media to take a swipe at Ms Baillie, who was absent at the March with Midwives in Stroud on Sunday. He said: “It’s a pity Stroud’s MP couldn’t be bothered to turn up to today’s demonstration by our local midwives.”
Mr Drew, who attended the March, accused Ms Baillie of failing to ‘listen’ to the plight of midwives, who are demanding better funding for maternal care and an improvement in working conditions.
He added: “Applying for a useless adjournment debate is no substitute for engaging with your constituents to listen to and act upon their plight #midwives.”
Stroud Times contacted Ms Baillie, who was quick to rebuff Mr Drew’s comments: “I hope Mr Drew never thought any debates he applied for on behalf of his constituents were useless.
“What a negative thing to say. He also misunderstands the campaign as the midwives want a debate in parliament – that’s why they created a petition.”
Despite a war of words, Ms Baillie was keen to focus on the positives, with the government aiming to hire 1,200 more midwives with a £95m recruitment drive.
She said: “Mr Drew’s comments may be a sad reflection of his own time in the Commons but I am far more positive about trying to help people than this.
“And this approach seems to have struck a chord. I have been contacted by midwives locally and nationally on social media and by email to say how pleased they are I want to raise their concerns in parliament.
“A debate means a government minister will have to consider the concerns midwives have made.”
Ms Baillie, who gave birth to her daughter last year, heaped praise on the medical staff involved in her care at Stroud Maternity and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital: “During my pregnancy and in my first few months as a new mum, I was helped a great deal by my wonderful midwife and health visitors. I will be forever thankful.
“The work that midwives do is truly phenomenal and I stand in solidarity with midwives and healthcare professionals in their call for Government action.”