politics

Anger as Labour MP Stella Creasy told off for bringing baby into the Commons


Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle requested a review into Parliament’s rules following Ms Creasy’s complaint

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Stella Creasy addresses not having maternity cover

Parliament will review whether MPs can take babies into the chamber after a Labour MP was told off for bringing her three-month-old baby into the Commons.

Labour’s Stella Creasy said she was reprimanded by the parliamentary authorities for bringing her son Pip to a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday.

She posted a photo on Twitter of an email from the office of the Chairman of Ways and Means – the formal title for Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing – reminding her of the rules, which were updated in September.

Ms Creasy, a mother-of-two, said: “Apparently Parliament has written a rule which means I can’t take my well behaved, 3-month old, sleeping baby when I speak in chamber. (Still no rule on wearing masks btw).

“Mothers in the mother of all parliament are not to be seen or heard it seems…. #21stCenturyCalling “.







Labour MP Stella Creasy
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Image:

Getty Images)

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle asked the Procedure Committee to look at the issue following Ms Creasy’s complaint.

He said he was unaware that the warning was being issued to Ms Creasy but accepted it “correctly reflects the current rules”.

“However, rules have to be seen in context and they change with the times,” he told MPs.

“This House has to be able to function professionally and without disturbance. However, sometimes there may be occasions when the chair can exercise discretion assuming to the business not being disturbed.”

Earlier, Ms Creasy said it was a “bit of mystery” why she had been reprimanded as she had previously taken both of her children into the Commons.

The Walthamstow MP told Sky News: “I don’t have maternity cover so if I don’t have my child with me and I don’t go in then my residents in Walthamstow don’t get heard.

“But yesterday I was told I’d committed a parliamentary faux-pas in bringing my 13-week-old baby, so he’s very tiny, he doesn’t really do very much, he is quite well behaved.”

Ms Creasy said it was an example of how “often if you’re a mum you can’t win”.

In September, she asked Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg to ensure new mothers were supported rather than “rebuked” when returning to Parliament – with her newborn baby strapped to her.

Mr Rees-Mogg said in response he thought the rules were “perfectly reasonable and entirely in line with the law”.







Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said Parliament would look at the rules around whether MPs can bring babies into the Commons
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Image:

PA)

Shadow Northern Ireland Minister Alex Davies-Jones offered support for Ms Creasy and branded the rule a “complete contradiction”.

She said: “When I was first elected I was still exclusively breastfeeding my child.

“I met with the [Commons Speaker] to discuss this and was assured that if the need arose I would be able to feed my child in the chamber or Westminster Hall.

“This rule is now a complete contradiction.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas branded the rule “absurd” and joked that babies are “far less disruptive than many braying backbenchers”.

MPs are entitled to six months of paid maternity leave and a proxy vote but Ms Creasy has previously spoken out about challenges finding cover for her responsibilities.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We completely understand the difficulties faced by MPs who are new mothers, new fathers, adoptive parents, and Parliament has made some positive changes to becoming more family friendly in recent years, including on proxy voting.

“And we want to make sure all workplaces are modern, flexible and fit for parents. This is a matter for the House.”

The spokesman declined to say if the Prime Minister would bring his son Wilf into the chamber.

A House of Commons spokesperson said: “It is vital that all democratically elected MPs are able to carry out their duties in and around Parliament.

“Members can at any time consult with the Speaker, Deputy Speakers, Clerks and Doorkeepers about their requirements while in the Chamber or in Westminster Hall at any time.

“We are currently in communication with Stella Creasy about this matter.”

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