LONDON: Indian-origin Suella Braverman, Britain's first Cabinet minister to benefit from a new maternity leave law for ministers, has resumed her post as the Attorney General following the birth of her second child.
The 41-year-old barrister, who is the UK government's senior-most legal officer, is ready to take her place back on the frontbenches of Parliament at the end of her six-month maternity leave.
According to 'The Daily Telegraph', Braverman attended her first Cabinet meeting earlier this week when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior team met in person for the first time in 18 months since the COVID-19 lockdown virtual meets.
She will formally take up her portfolio again next week. Braverman was designated Minister on Leave (Attorney General) in her absence and her deputy, Solicitor General Michael Ellis, served as Attorney General.
His place was taken by Lucy Frazer, the prisons minister. Downing Street confirmed on Friday that Ellis and Frazer would now return to their previous roles. Earlier this year, she became the first Cabinet-level minister to take her entitlement to maternity leave following the passage of the Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances bill.
Previously only junior ministers had taken time off after having children. The new bill was intended to formalise a process for ministers taking maternity leave that until now has been granted at the discretion of the Prime Minister.
It was intended to align the rules on maternity pay for Cabinet ministers with more junior government roles and the civil service. The Opposition had supported the law, with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying the change "should have been brought in a long time ago".
Under the general rules applicable to regular employees in the UK, women are entitled to up to 52 weeks' maternity leave, including some specifically ear-marked for the weeks right after the baby's birth. Under paternity leave rules, fathers can take two weeks' statutory leave and there is also scope for some shared parental leave.