Colchester MP Will Quince ‘delighted’ with victory in Robert’s Bill aimed at giving parents time to grieve
- Credit: Su Anderson
Colchester MP Will Quince said he is “delighted” that new laws look set to be adopted which will ensure parents are given time to grieve the loss of a child.
His remarks come following a bill clearing its final hurdle in the House of Commons, which gained unanimous cross party support.
Mr Quince’s son Robert was diagnosed with Edwards’ Syndrome at his 20-week scan and survived to full term. But he was stillborn in 2014.
Since then, Mr Quince has campaigned tirelessly for fresh laws granting grieving parents statutory leave to mourn the loss of their child with the new legislation set to be called Robert’s Bill. On Friday, the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Bill, which aims to create a legal entitlement of at least two weeks leave and pay for parents, was passed in the Commons. Speaking in the House, Mr Quince said: “When members of the public, who in some cases have a bit of disdain for politicians, say ‘You MPs you do nothing, what do you do for us?’ Well today, we’re doing something for tens of thousands of bereaved parents up and down this country. We know the good this bill will do. Because all of my work in this area is only as a result of my late son Robert – so, if anything, it’s Robert’s Bill.”
Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton, who tabled the bill, said he hoped employers would always offer more than two weeks.
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A number of MPs who had lost children spoke about their experiences during the four-hour debate. Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Quince said: “It’s really great news that we have got to the next stage and the bill is now heading off to the House of Lords and I am hugely grateful to Kevin for bringing it forward.
“I am absolutely delighted with the outcome. I have thrown so much into this over the past two years and it’s been a passion to secure this bill.
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“And it’s not just about the grieving process but how parents come to terms with the loss as it’s not only a shock when it’s a child’s death, it’s about all the different things that you need to do as a parent like registering the death and going home and telling siblings, which are things people do not think about. The two weeks is a floor not a ceiling ... it’s the minimum amount of time allowed.”
He added: “It is really important you have that time off to come to terms with what’s happened and the enormity of losing a child.”