Shadow minister: Yvette Cooper is ‘more valuable’ for being a mother

One of Yvette Cooper's leading supporters today risked reigniting a bitter row wih her rival Liz Kendall after suggesting the shadow home secretary would make a "more valuable" leader as a mother.

Writing for, Sharon Hodgson claimed that the next Labour leader should be a woman, adding that Cooper's experience as a mother made her the right choice.

"I deeply admire the fact Yvette was the first cabinet minister in history to go on maternity leave, providing a phenomenal example to mothers everywhere that having children doesn’t make you somehow expendable, it makes you far more valuable," she wrote.

Hodgson's comments follow claims earlier in the campaign by fellow supporter Helen Goodman MP, that as "a working mum" Cooper understood the pressures of family life better than her rivals.

Liz Kendall's campaign team read the comments as an implied attack on her for not having children.

"Is this what it's come to?" Kendall's campaign manager Toby Perkins told the BBC.

“I think the idea that you say because of one of the candidates is a mother they’re the one you should back suggests a paucity of intellectual argument which the Labour Party really should have moved beyond."

Kendall's rivals were last week accused of 'smearing' her after rumours about her relationship with a member of her campaign were spread around Westminster.
The target of these claims John Woodcock MP, derided them as a smear.

"People who are spreading these rumours about Liz and me need to remember how much damage these acts of smear can do," he said in a statement.

“This is clearly being done systematically, to damage Liz's campaign. It is totally unacceptable and that is why I have decided to talk about this publicly. It is hurtful for my family, and it is designed to make things difficult for Liz.

“This has given me a small insight into the kind of difficulty so many women come across, when it is said that they are only where they are because they are sleeping with someone or someone fancies them.”