LIBDEM deputy leader Jo Swinson had demanded the Tory Chief Whip resign after he was accused of “trying to obstruct” changes to the Westminster voting system that would help MPs on maternity leave.

A report in the Times said that despite Labour, the SNP, LibDems and Tories agreeing in principle to allow new mums, new dads and mums-to-be to be able to vote in the Commons by proxy, Julian Smith has blocked it while Theresa May tries to get her Brexit deal through.

Last summer, there was fury when the Tories deliberately broke a promise with Swinson, who was on maternity leave at the time, over promises to “pair” her.

This is the Commons tradition where one MPs of one party will not vote while a member of another party is absent. A cross-party procedure committee set up in the wake of the row recommended that new parents should be able to notify the House of a specified period of absence — up to six months for mothers and two weeks for fathers.

Swinson said: “Julian Smith had to apologise for cheating my constituents out of their voice, by asking an MP to break our pair while I nursed my two week old baby.”

She added: “If he is blocking proxy voting in private, it makes an absolute mockery of his public apology and he should resign”.

There was outrage last week Labour MP Tulip Siddiq was forced to delay the birth of her son by a day so she could have her say on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.