Bangla sanglap Desk: ALabour MP warned a reporter to be “very careful” when asked questions before telling a pregnant journalist: “Hope you have a great birth, because child labour is hard”.
Tulip Siddiq, who sits on the Women and Equalities Committee in Parliament, made the “apparently threatening remark” when she was asked questions about human rights in Bangladesh.
She was asked by a reporter whether she would do anything to campaign for the release of a British-trained barrister who vanished in Bangladesh last year. Ms Siddiq has family connections with the government in Bangladesh, where her aunt is prime minister.
The television producer said she felt the politician had used her pregnancy against her.
Ms Siddiq apologised the day after the report came out, saying her remarks were “ill-judged”, and has offered to meet the producer involved to give a personal apology.
The editor of Channel 4 News has complained to both the MP and the Labour party over the remarks. In response, Ms Siddiq told Channel 4 News she had reported Channel 4 News to the police.
Ms Siddiq was being interviewed at an event in Hampstead where she was campaigning on behalf of British mother Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been jailed in Iran.
She was asked about lawyer Ahmad bin Quasem, who human rights organisations say was abducted by state security forces in Bangladesh. He has not been heard from since.
Asked about his case, Ms Siddiq said: “I’m a Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, I’m a British Member of Parliament. Be very careful.”
She added: “I’m not Bangladeshi and the person you are talking about, I have no idea about their case. That is the end of my statement.”
Reporter Alex Thomson said Ms Siddiq “then made an apparently threatening comment to our producer, who is pregnant”. Walking away from the camera, she said: “Thanks Daisy for coming. Hope you have a great birth because child labour is hard.”
Andrew Bridgen, a Tory MP, said: “Her hypocrisy is quite shocking. When she was pregnant she brought much criticism on those who she thought were less than understanding of her situation and this was much publicised. Clearly she has questions to answer about her conduct.”
When Ms Siddiq was expecting her first child last year, she was accused of “playing the pregnancy card” when she broke Commons rules by leaving a debate to eat.
She was reportedly told by Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing that she had “made women look bad” by leaving the chamber.
Tweeting about the incident, the producer, Daisy Ayliffe, said: “The perils of being a pregnant journalist: An MP might use it against you.”
Mr Thomson said it was the “first time in 30 years reporting” that an MP had told him to “be very careful” for asking a question.
Viewers described Ms Siddiq’s comments as “bizarre and sinister” on social media, with one calling it an “unacceptable vicious remark”.
The Telegraph has approached the Labour party for comment.
Ms Siddiq later put out a statement saying: “I want to apologise unreservedly for my comments to Channel 4’s producer, which were and off-hand and ill-judged attempt to deal with what I felt was a hostile situation. I would never want to upset her and hope she accepts my apology.
“With regard to the Channel 4 news report itself, and as I made clear prior to the event on Saturday, I was born in London and serve as a British Member of Parliament. The focus of my work is spent on delivering for the residents of Hampstead and Kilburn who elected me to represent them.
“The fact that some members of my family are involved in politics in Bangladesh has long been a matter of public record that I have not hidden from. That said, I have no capability or desire to influence politics in Bangladesh.”- ( Ref- the telegraph )