Opposition Labor Party lawmaker was reprimanded for attending a debate on Tuesday with her three-month-old son.
A British politician has called for reforms to Parliament’s rulebook after receiving an official reprimand for attending a debate with her three-month-old baby.
Stella Creasy, an MP from the main opposition Labor Party, took her son to the Westminster Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday after the debate.
Later that day, she received a letter from the private secretary to the chair of the Manners and Resources Committee stating that the baby’s presence was not in line with recently published rules on “conduct and courtesy” regarding conduct in the House of Commons. and Westminster Hall, a historic building used for some MPs’ sittings.
Creasy, 44, said she had previously taken both her son and her older daughter to parliament without problems, but was told the rules changed in September.
The current rulebook advises MPs not to take a seat in the room, which means the Commons of Westminster Hall, when “accompanied by your child”.
Apparently Parliament has written a rule that means I can not take my well-behaved, 3-month-old, sleeping baby when I talk in the room. (Still no rule about wearing masks btw).
– stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) 23 November 2021
Creasy said the edict undermines efforts to make politics more family-friendly and called for it to be reviewed.
“There are barriers to getting mothers involved in politics, and I think that damages our political debate,” London MP Walthamstow told the BBC on Wednesday.
“I had a baby, I did not give up my brain or ability to do things and our politics and our policy-making would be better by having more moms at the table,” she added.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, a member of the ruling Conservative Party, said he had “a lot of sympathy” with Creasy.
“I think we need to make sure that our profession is brought into the modern world, the 21st century, and allows parents to juggle the work they do with the family time they need,” he said, before added that it was ultimately up to parliamentary authorities to decide on the rules.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, meanwhile, described the baby ban as “absurd”. She said babies were “much less disruptive than many swinging backbenchers”.
Solidarity Stella 💪 – this absurd statement must be absolutely challenged – on top of that, babies are much less disruptive than very zealous backbenchers… https://t.co/tWPSwFX3qg
– Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) 24 November 2021
Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the Commons, said he had asked parliament’s procedural committee to review the rules amid the uproar over Creasy’s case, but noted that there were “different views” on the matter.
“The advice given yesterday korrek correctly reflects the current rules. However, rules must be seen in context and they change over time, “Hoyle told the Commons on Wednesday.
“It is extremely important that parents of infants and young children be fully involved in the work of this House,” he added.
MPs have previously brought babies to debate without reprimand. Former Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was considered the first to do so in 2018 when she attended a debate in the House of Commons with her then-baby son, Gabriel.