Chloe Smith took over from science and technology secretary Michelle Donelan while the latter was on maternity leave.
MP Chloe Smith has told The Times that more politicians should take shared parental leave to make it the norm.
“I think actually we have an opportunity here to reflect what many families up and down the country do and that paternity leave and shared parental leave should be a normal concept [in government],” she said. “I look forward to my first male colleague taking time off to care for their family.”
Smith has been filling in for Michelle Donelan as the science and technology secretary whilst the latter was on maternity leave. She was allowed to following the law change in 2019 fuelled by Suella’s Braverman’s maternity leave, but is the first to act as maternity cover for a full-time Cabinet minister.
And while some high-profile American politicians have done similar – notably former Democratic Presidential runner Pete Buttigieg – taking this kind of leave in British politics still happens rarely.
“I think it’s vital that we show that maternity leave can be normal and successful at the highest levels,” said Smith.
Smith will now return to being a regular MP. She was previously in Liz Truss’s government, but was sacked by Rishi Sunak when he took over Number 10.