MP Tulip Siddiq has given her backing to a bill which would give greater protection against the threat of redundancy to women who are pregnant.

The government has supported Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill introduced by Labour's Dan Jarvis, which cleared its first parliamentary hurdle after receiving an unopposed second reading and support from across the House of Commons.

The Barnsley Central MP told the Commons around 54,000 women lose their jobs each year after becoming pregnant.

The Bill aims to strengthen employment rights for new mums and mums-to-be by protecting them against redundancy for longer.

Ms Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, told the Ham&High: "With three in four expecting mothers experiencing maternity discrimination and tens of thousands being made redundant every year, there is an obvious need for a change in the law to ensure no one is punished for having children.

"This is why I am proud to be supporting my Labour colleague Dan Jarvis’s new Bill that will extend redundancy protections for expectant mums and new parents. I am also pleased that this bill includes parents taking adoption or shared parental leave which will stop them from being the first to be laid off on their return to work."

She said as people face the cost-of-living crisis, the bill will "bring about long overdue change which the government has failed to deliver, despite promising to in 2019".

"There is no more important job in the world than raising a family," she said. "No one should lose their career for doing so, which is why I will continue pushing my colleagues from across parties to get behind this bill."

Mr Jarvis said a woman on maternity leave is entitled to be offered a suitable alternative vacancy if her role is at risk, but added: “A lack of clarity coupled with poor compliance means new mums are often first rather than last to be shown the door.”

Business minister Dean Russell gave the government’s backing, telling the Commons: “These measures will provide invaluable support and protection for parents during an exciting, and it should be an exciting and joyous time in their lives, during pregnancy and for the first period of their child’s life as they juggle work and caring responsibilities.

“The government is pleased to support this private member’s bill. It is wholly in line with our ongoing commitment to support workers and build a high-skilled, high-productivity, high-wage economy.”