New mum Luciana Berger attacked by opponent in 'breast-feeding' row

Liverpool Lib Dem deputy leader forced into embarrassing climb-down after accusing Liverpool Wavertree Labour candidate Ms Berger of a "refusal" to attend evening debates


A leading Jewish politician who is on maternity leave has been subjected to an attack over her working hours during the general election campaign.

Luciana Berger – who is seeking to regain the Liverpool Wavertree seat for Labour - was targeted by Andrew Makinson, an elected councillor and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat party in the city, on social media.

He accused her of a “refusal to attend election debates".

Ms Berger – who gave birth to her and husband Alistair Goldsmith’s first child in March - was left angered by the attack from Mr Makinson.

During the past seven weeks of the election campaign, Ms Berger, who was the youngest Jewish MP in the last Parliament, has regularly been seen canvassing for votes, even taking her baby with her on a number of occasions.

She wrote on Twitter on Monday: “I haven’t refused to do debates. With a new-born baby evening events are near impossible. I’ll gladly take you on any day.”

Ms Berger’s response was the subject of much praise on Twitter – but Mr Makinson responded again, writing: “Sorry, didn’t realise we were still in the 1950s when only a woman can look after a child. Thought Labour believed in shared paternity!”

But clarifying her situation further, Ms Berger wrote: “Were we expecting a general election? No. Do you know my personal circumstances? No. Can men breastfeed? No. Stop digging.”

Mr Makinson’s comments contradict promises made in the Lib Dems' general election manifesto to help out families with childcare issues.

In one major pledge the Lib Dems promise to “fight to ensure the right to 52 weeks’ maternity leave (which is currently based on EU law,) is not undermined.

“Expand shared parental leave with an additional ‘use it or lose it’ month to encourage fathers to take time off. Make paternity and shared parental leave a ‘day one’ right - so employees will no longer need 26 weeks’ continuous employment to be eligible.”

He apologised on Wednesday for his earlier remarks saying: "I strongly believe in every parent's right to decide how best to care for their baby and I apologise for unintentionally suggesting otherwise.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive