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UK MP’s anger as she’s told not to bring baby into parliament

5 days ago 3
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LONDON — A British MP spoke out after being told it is against the rules to attend debates in parliament with her three-month-old son.

Labour’s Stella Creasy insisted “politics and parenting can mix” after being informed she ought not to sit in the House of Commons with her baby.

Creasy brought her child to a debate at Westminster Hall on Tuesday, and afterward received a letter from the office of Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing saying this did not comply with rules on “behavior and courtesies.”

She said the rebuke was “news to me,” as she had often taken her son, who she is breastfeeding, and before him her daughter, into the Commons chamber.

“Mothers in the mother of all parliament[s] are not to be seen or heard it seems,” she tweeted.

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle addressed the issue at the start of parliamentary business on Wednesday, saying it was “extremely important” for the parents of young children to “participate fully in the work of this House.”

He added the advice given to the Labour MP “correctly reflects the current rules,” but that “rules have to be seen in context and they change with the times.”

He specified the Commons “has to be able to function professionally and without disturbance,” but “there may be occasions when the chair can exercise discretion.”

Karen Bradley, the Conservative MP who chairs the Commons procedure committee overseeing the way the chamber works, has been asked to bring forward recommendations on the matter.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab on Wednesday said he had “a lot of sympathy” for Creasy, and said politicians have to make sure “our profession is brought into the modern world… [so] parents can juggle the jobs they do with the family time they need.”

While saying a baby in the Commons “certainly wouldn’t distract me or get in the way of me doing my job,” Raab said it was for parliamentary authorities to decide the “right balance.”

Creasy is a longstanding advocate of rights for mothers in parliament, having previously campaigned for proxy votes and maternity leave for new parents.

Suella Braverman, the attorney general for England and Wales, recently became the first minister attending Cabinet to receive maternity cover.

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