Parliament will review its rules on bringing babies into the House of Commons after an MP was reprimanded for taking her young son into a debate.
Stella Creasy shared an email from an official on Tuesday telling her she should not have had her three-month-old son in the House of Commons while speaking in Westminster Hall.
Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle announced on Wednesday he has asked for the chair of the cross-party Procedures Committee to look into the matter, with MPs then able to decide how to go forwards.
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).
— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) November 23, 2021
He said it was “extremely important” parents of babies and young children can participate fully in the Commons but admitted the advice Ms Creasy was given “correctly reflects the current rules”.
“However, rules have to be seen in context and they change with the times,” he said.
Labour MP Ms Creasy, 44, said she was “pleased to hear” the issue will be looked at and added: “Hope this means some of these rules will be reviewed to make parenting and politics possible to mix.”
She earlier told Sky News’ Kay Burley: “It’s a bit of a mystery to me because I have two children and I’ve taken them both previously into the chamber as needs must to make sure my constituents have representation.
“I think it’s representative of the way, as a mum, you can’t win because if I had maternity cover it would be a different issue, and I don’t and I don’t want to short-change my residents.”
Ms Creasy said it is “part and parcel” of modern life and as an MP she cannot have maternity cover so the only option is to bring her baby into the chamber.
The Walthamstow MP said Pip, who is breastfeeding, “is very tiny, doesn’t do very much, he’s quite well behaved and even Jacob Rees-Mogg has acknowledged that”.
Pip has regularly attended the Commons, as did Ms Creasy’s older daughter and other MP’s babies.
Several MPs have come out in support of Ms Creasy.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab told Sky News he has “quite a lot of sympathy with Stella” and has seen “lots of mums and dads with their very very young children, babies, in the House of Commons”.
The father of two boys added: “It is of course of the House of Commons authorities to work out what the right balance is, but on a personal level, with young kids, I’ve got quite a bit of sympathy with Stella.
“We want effective, functioning chambers both in Westminster and the House of Commons but we also need to make sure that we’re in the 21st Century, that young parents, whether mums or dads – and I’ve seen dads as well as mums, normally mums – carrying young children around the House of Commons.
“I think we have to try and make that as flexible as we can.”
Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones described the rule as a “complete contradiction” after she said she received an assurance from Sir Lindsay that she could breastfeed in the chamber.
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP, said the rule is “absurd” and “absolutely needs to be challenged”, adding that babies are “far less disruptive than many braying backbenchers”.