Tulip Siddiq: ‘Boris Johnson Should Have Been Sacked Over Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’

Tulip Siddiq, Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, on the challenges of being an MP with a baby and the plight of her constituent Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, still in prison in Iran

Tulip Siddiq

by As told to Lynn Enright |

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is in an Iranian jail for allegedly ‘plotting to topple the government’. I feel she’s been forgotten because there’s so much going on in politics right now. She’s three years into a five-year sentence but there’s also a threat of a second court case. It’s hard for her to stay positive when she’s being mentally tortured this way. Both Nazanin and her husband Richard, in London, are currently on hunger strike.

When he was Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson failed to formally call for Nazanin’s release, failed to call for diplomatic protection and failed to get consular access. He failed Nazanin. He repeated the Iranian regime’s propaganda – wrongly stating that Nazanin, who is British-Iranian, was in Iran to train journalists, landing her in trouble. It was a horrific day for Nazanin. Boris made a huge error and he wasn’t sacked. He wasn’t fit to serve in that role and he’s not fit to run the country. I hope that when journalists interview him, they bring up Nazanin, as he shouldn’t be able to avoid scrutiny on this.

Brexit is all-consuming and ministers are giving everything to that because it’s the biggest issue of our generation. But it means other things are pushed down the pecking order. I have hundreds of constituents being pushed on to Universal Credit and the impact is severe. No one is talking about it.

In 2016, when I had my daughter Azalea by emergency C-section, I had to rush back to Parliament within six weeks. I had no choice; there were votes that were too important to miss. If I had missed the vote, the voting record would have said ‘absent’, not ‘just had a baby, trying to heal after having her abdominal muscles cut’. I got really ill because I went back so quickly.

I was preparing for a C-section with my second baby when I had to vote again. I was in a wheelchair and that made headlines. Afterwards, proxy voting was finally brought in. So with my son Raphael, life has been better. I’m still doing meetings and I take him along sometimes – maternity leave in Parliament doesn’t really happen. But I can nominate my whip to vote on my behalf, which is good for late-night votes.

I have a saint of a husband, he’s a feminist. After we had kids and I became an MP, he had to change careers – he used to work long hours but now he’s freelance, which makes a huge difference. He always does the nursery pick-up; I’m never out of work in time.

Gallery

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
1 of 10
CREDIT: Twitter Danielle Rowley

Speaking about her groundbreaking announcement, Danielle perfectly highlighted just how ridiculous it is that it's even a taboo to mention your period. She said on Twitter:'A lot of unexpected coverage of me talking about my period - which is great, but also highlights the need to talk about periods more openly.A woman mentioning her period shouldn't be such huge news - let's use this opportunity and work together to get to a place where it's not!'

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
2 of 10
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Jess brought social media trolls to account when she called for those who post abusive messages online to lose their anonymity. The MP told parliament that she once received 600 rape threats in one night and is threatened with violence and aggression every single day online. The online community is so hostile towards women that Amnesty International have led a campaign calling for Twitter to take greater responsibility for preventing online abuse. Jess told the House of Commons that people should have to disclose their real identity to social media platforms, with hope that it would not only deter people from abusing women online but also enable us to hold them to account.

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
3 of 10
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Heidi, alongside Jess Phillips, shared an emotional account of her own abortion with parliament earlier this month. In an attempt to reform Northern Ireland's abortion laws, she told the Cambridge independent that she felt she needed to share her story:'I had intended to say it because I had a feeling nobody else would.'I thought it probably needed saying.'I suppose it is very easy to make issues like that just about procedure and legislation and words and policy but, actually, it is about people's lives.'Jess Phillips too opened up about her own abortion, also sharing harrowing stories from women in Northern Ireland who had terminated pregnancies.

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
4 of 10
CREDIT: Shutterstock

The original lead of cross-party calls for Northern Ireland's abortion laws to be brought in line with the rest of the UK's, Stella received tons of hate mail over her campaign to protect women's right to choose. It was in her call for debate over abortion that Heidi Allen and Jess Philips were able to talk about their own terminations.

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
5 of 10
CREDIT: Facebook Penny Mourdant

The Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mourdant launched the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security which calls for more women to be at the centre of the DFID's peace, security and humanitarian programmes. As secretary of state for international development, she has attempted to reform the aid sector by creating an independent safeguarding unit that prevents exploitation. This comes in the wake of a series of sex scandals against leading charities earlier this year.

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
6 of 10
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Wera Hobhouse brought Gina Martin's upskirting campaign to parliament as a private members bill set to outlaw the vile crime. While the bill was subsequently blocked by two male MPs, a third reading of the bill is set to continue on the 6th of July with Gina stating 'the Government Bill will become law as it'll get through the later stages more quickly and won't be objected to.'

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
7 of 10
CREDIT: Shutterstock

It was off the back of the upskirting bill that Maria Miller and Jess Phillips have met with Wera Hobhouse in an attempt to include a revenge porn amendment. It would ensure there was a blanket ban on voyeuristic images regardless of the intention in taking it, as the MPs feared people would attempt to bend the wording of the upskirting law to avoid conviction by arguing they took the image with no intention of causing distress. They also wanted to introduce an amendment that would ban false pornographic images, in which faces are photoshopped onto explicit images. However, they were told it was impossible to introduce further amendments. This comes after Love Island stars Zara McDermott and Laura Anderson became victims of revenge porn this week.

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
8 of 10
CREDIT: Shutterstock

As part of the discussion about classing misogyny as a hate crime, Mhairi Black spoke out about the misogynistic and homophobic abuse she receives online every day. She also asked parliament to reflect on their own environment, stating, 'Only a few weeks ago I was physically pressed up against a Member (of Parliament) in the voting lobby who is accused of sexual misconduct because there's so little room.'Acknowledging she has the 'same right and influence as any other elected man', she spoke up for the female staff who aren't in her position.

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
9 of 10
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Leading the charge to make misogyny a hate crime, Melanie highlighted the 'link between low-level harassment of women and more serious sexual assaults' that was found by Westminster's all-party group on domestic violence. In her constituency, the rate of domestic violence is particularly high. As a result, she has called for a law change to have misogynistic acts such as wolf-whistling, leering and sexual comments in public to be made a criminal offence.

Inspiring Female MPs - Grazia
10 of 10
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Monica introduced a Member's Bill into Scottish parliament that would see the creation of free universal access to sanitary products. Proposing also that schools, colleges and universities provide free sanitary products in their toilets, she led the campaign that stands to end period poverty in Scotland.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us