MP Stella Creasy was told that she cannot sit in the Commons if she brings her three-month-old son. However, the MP replied that it “has to be possible for politics and parenting to mix”.
Stella Creasy asked to not bring her child to the Commons
On Tuesday, Stella Creasy, a Labor Party MP was informed that bringing a child to a debate at Westminister hall was against the rules. According to Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Speaker, it is important for parents to fully participate in the work of the House. He added that the Westminister hall was equipped with a nursery for the same reason. “Rules have to be seen in context and they change with the times,” stated Sir Lindsay to the House. However, MP Alex Davies-Jones was previously assured by the Commons speaker that she could breastfeed her child if she needed to.
“Pleased to hear this – FWIW as currently on proxy voting scheme not able to be in the chamber for a statement as rules say I am not allowed in any way due to having baby leave (!) but hope this means some of these rules will be reviewed to make parenting and politics possible to mix!” she tweeted. Additionally, Sir Lindsay also asked the Commons Procedure Committee, the committee of MPs to look into the matter. The committee is chaired by MP Karen Bradley, a Conservative. The chair has the ability for recommending the Houses’ practical operation.
More on the events that followed
To the BBC, she said that she had taken her breastfeeding son and, previously her daughter to the Commons Chamber. However, on Tuesday, she received an email from Dame Eleanor Laing, the private secretary to the chairman of the ways and means committee. The email said that she was not in line with the recent rules on “behavior and courtesies”. The rule book says: “You should not take your seat in the chamber when accompanied by your child. Nor stand at either end of the Chamber, between divisions”. The Labor MP is also encouraging mothers to enter politics under the ‘This Mum Vote’ campaign.
MP Stella Creasy stated that it is “not a system that works for anyone who isn’t a man of a certain age from a certain background”. “I don’t have maternity cover – I don’t have the employment rights to have maternity cover. I’ve had a baby, I haven’t given up my brain or capacity to do things and our politics. And our policymakers will be better by having more mums at the table,” she added. MPs are entitled to a proxy vote and six months of maternity leave. However, some have stated their trouble in obtaining adequate funding.