ALASTAIR Campbell has 'updated' his criticism of MP Siobhan Baillie's unavailability to constituents whilst on maternity leave.

Today, as the Stroud MP's daughter reached 12 days old, Campbell described the Stroud MP's lack of response to constituents as 'a good cop out'.

Former press secretary for Tony Blair, Campbell made the comments in relation to emails sent to Mrs Baillie about the Dominic Cummings saga.

Campbell had urged people to send letters to their MPs about the situation, and to keep him in touch with their replies.

Commenting on a constituent not receiving a direct response from Siobhan, he wrote: "“Another one with a good cop-out is Siobhan Baillie, MP for Stroud.

"'For the first 5 weeks of her maternity leave,’ says an automated message, ‘she is not responding to emails nor using her social media so she can bond with her new born child.’

"Nice, I’m sure, bond away. But child or not, you have constituents, so what are they supposed to do? Answer comes there none.

"There is a link to the House of Commons staff handbook – I worked there for years but this is news to me, and she posts an explanation of maternity rights.

"This suggests to me she thinks Parliament is there to operate for her, rather than that she is there to work for her constituents.

"If any of her friends are reading, perhaps advise her to get a system in place."

But later on today, following comments from Labour MP Stella Creasy, Campbell amended his blog.

He wrote: "UPDATE HERE, a few hours after first posting...

"I have finally had an MP come to another MP’s defence. 

"The MP coming to the defence of Siobhan Baillie is not a Tory but Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, who says the issue here is the Commons’ antediluvian approach to maternity, and the lack of clear support for an MP who has a child. Point taken, thanks Stella, and good luck Siobhan."

He has also tweeted: "Blog on Tory MP letters updated to take account of valid point by Labour MP @stellacreasy that Siobhan Baillie problem is caused by Commons' backward attitude to maternity."

Campbell's comments come on the back of criticisms of the newly-elected Conservative MP, who has recently given birth to a daughter, for taking maternity leave. 

Mrs Baillie, 38, became a mother for the first time on May 22.

The married mum-of-one has received ‘unpleasant’ emails, 'mostly from men', criticising her decision to take time off during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some wrote to Mrs Baillie’s constituency office expressing their anger at the Dominic Cummings affair, and demanding a response from her.

"Why will my MP not respond to me, given the gravity of the Cummings affair and the impact this is having of public trust. I don’t care that she has just given birth," one wrote.

Another said: "Maternity leave is not an act of God – it is a normal life’s circumstance that should have been planned well in advance for. Why does the office have no-one in place to act up for Ms Baillie?"

Mrs Baillie, who is planning to take only four weeks leave, has received support from fellow MPs including Harriet Harman, Stella Creasy, Flick Drummond, Caroline Nokes and Ruth Cadbury.

Harriet Butcher, who is Mrs Baillie’s senior parliamentary assistant, said: "Sadly, Siobhan has received unpleasant emails, the vast majority from men, who seem to think the 2010 Equality Act does not apply to a woman because she is an MP.

She added: "Why anyone would be ‘astonished’ a mother would not want to take time off to care for and bond with her daughter we find incredible, especially when thorough arrangements have been made to ensure it is very much business as usual while Siobhan is away."

Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson's most senior adviser, was discovered to have broken coronavirus lockdown rules by driving 260 miles to visit his family—supposedly for help with child care—while he should have been self-isolating because he and his wife had the tell-tale symptoms of the virus.