Rishi Sunak has told MPs that “mums everywhere” are owed a debt of thanks for “juggling childcare and work” during lockdown.
The Chancellor was responding to a question in the Commons specifically about mothers who are working while dealing with childcare and home schooling responsibilities, although there was no mention of fathers in his answer.
Speaking in the Commons, Conservative MP Joy Morrissey (Beaconsfield) said: “Many female business owners have found themselves working full-time jobs at home while bearing full-time responsibility for childcare and home schooling all at the same time.
“May I thank my right honourable friend for all the steps he is taking to alleviate the difficulties experienced by mothers who just want to work and contribute to the economy with their children safely back in school.”
Mr Sunak replied: “My honourable friend is absolutely right and we owe mums everywhere an enormous debt of thanks for doing the enormously difficult job of juggling childcare and work at this tricky time.
“I know she will join me in being happy that early years settings have been open for a while.
“But she’s absolutely right, the only way to sustainably solve this challenge is to safely reopen our schools as quickly as we can.”
Responding to the remark at Treasury questions, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner wrote on Twitter: “Erm @RishiSunak you know mums work too and don’t just look after the kids and make meals..?
“That’s why Labour is demanding flexible furlough for working parents balancing work with childcare and home schooling.
“Happy to brief you on the inequality and sexism women face at work.”
Following the criticism, Mr Sunak tweeted a clip of the question and his answer, adding: “For clarity I was answering a question about mums.”