UK PM takes time off for baby

2010-08-27 15:53

London - David Cameron will become the first British prime minister to take statutory paternity leave, his deputy confirmed on Friday, as his wife left hospital three days after giving birth to their fourth child.

Cameron, only the second premier in modern times after Tony Blair to become a parent while in office, will spend the time getting to know his new daughter, Florence Rose Endellion.

Wife Samantha gave birth by caesarean section during the family's holiday to Cornwall, southwest England. The baby had not been due until next month.

Under British law, new fathers can take up to two weeks' paid leave.

"He obviously wants to take some time off, like any young dad does, for paternity leave and I will just carry on holding the fort," Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told LBC radio in London.

"I spoke to him just after the birth of his baby daughter. We haven't yet spoken about exactly what date he is returning," Clegg added.

Mom and daughter doing well

Cameron has been on holiday with his family for almost two weeks, leaving Clegg in charge, and was due to return to work next week.

Samantha Cameron left the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro with her new baby on Friday, using the back door to avoid a waiting throng of photographers.

"The prime minister, Samantha, and Florence have all left hospital. Mother and baby are doing well and now look forward to spending the rest of their holiday in Cornwall with family and friends," a spokesperson for Cameron said.

The Camerons' first born, Ivan, died last year. He had severe epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Tony Blair, the last prime minister to become a father in office, chose not to take time off immediately after the birth of his son Leo in 2000 but cut down his schedule and reportedly did his fair share of looking after him at night.

Blair was the first prime minister in modern times to become a parent while in Downing Street.
Paid paternity leave was introduced by Blair's government in 2003.