The Liberal Democrats have been accused of scuppering a parliamentary debate on baby deaths to prioritise thwarting the Conservatives on Opposition Day.

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow granted an emergency debate to Liberal Democrat MP Alastair Carmichael that was held yesterday morning after the Prime Minister was accused of "running scared" when she ordered her MPs to skip Opposition Day motions. She hoped to avoid embarrassing defeats for her minority government propped up by Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Opposition MPs have accused Theresa May of sidelining Parliament by deploying this tactic.

Her majority of 13 has resulted in fears that non-binding votes would result in embarrassing defeats for the Government. By boycotting them, she can avoid this outcome.

I really hope your emergency debate tomorrow is worth it

Will Quince, Member of Parliament for Colchester and a leading campaigner for this week's Baby Loss Awareness Week, tweeted to Mr Carmichael: "I really hope your 'emergency debate' tomorrow is worth it. Really disappointing baby loss debate now unlikely to go ahead."

He later tweeted to his followers: "Looks like the scheduled Baby Loss debate due tomorrow during #babylossawarenessweek is now unlikely to go ahead. So sad, such a shame.

"Parliamentary colleagues, charities and baby loss organisations were prepared and looking forward to the important debate tomorrow.

So sad."

Yesterday, he tweeted: "Good news, thanks to the Government and Mr Speaker, if the programme motion is agreed, we may have an extension to 9 pm. Means 2 hours for #BabyLoss."

Mr Carmichael was approached for comment but refused to do so

Mr Carmichael was approached for comment but refused to do so.

However, despite the Speaker's decision to allow the debate to take place at 9 pm last night, the Liberal Democrat's actions were condemned by the Chief Executive of a national charity which lobbies for funds and research to support mothers affected by a condition called pre-eclampsia, which is caused by a defect in the placenta.

Marcus Green, Chief Executive of Action on Pre-Eclampsia, a national charity based in Evesham, said: "Every year, hundreds of families are decimated by the loss of a baby either stillborn or in the first few weeks and months of life. It is the most dreadful thing to happen. Baby Loss Awareness Week is a chance for the coalition of small baby charities to speak with a united voice about the grief and loss.

"One of the things we've all worked so hard on is the parliamentary debate which was bumped. Last year's debate was one of the most profound and emotional in the year and it is a genuine chance for all parties to come together and speak with unanimity about the grief and devastation.

"It is absolutely awful that at the 11th hour, the silent voice of grief was taken away from the public stage."

Putting process before dead babies

Since getting elected as the MP for Colchester after defeating Liberal Democrat Sir Bob Russell in 2015, Mr Quince has been a champion of mental health awareness. Earlier this week, he spoke at a National Bereavement Care Pathway event and welcomed constituency activists from the University of the Third Age (U3A) to Parliament.

He also praised the management team at Colchester Castle, who will be lighting up the tourist destination on Sunday to raise awareness of Baby Loss Awareness Week.

Baby Loss Awareness Week will be hosting a series of events throughout the country this week to commemorate the lives of babies lost by parents and families throughout the world and to raise awareness of the issues surrounding pregnancy in the UK.