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Rules On Babies In Parliament To Be Reviewed After Stella Creasy Was Reprimanded

3 min read

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has announced that the current rules on babies in the Chamber are to be reviewed after a Labour MP was reprimanded for holding her child during a debate.

Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow, said on Tuesday evening that she had received an email reprimanding her for holding her three-month-old son during a Westminer Hall debate. 

She was told that it was against House rules to bring children into debates.

Creasy's objection to the rule, stating that it disadvantages both MPs who are parents and their constituents, has prompted a review of regulations. 

In a statement on Wednesday morning, the Speaker said it was “extremely important” that parents of babies and young children were able to participate in Commons debate.

“The advice given yesterday to [Stella Creasy] on behalf of the Chairman of Ways and Means, of which I was not aware of until last night, correctly reflects the current rules,” he said.

“However, rules have to be seen in context and they change with times. This House has to be able to function professionally and without disturbance. However, sometimes there may be occasions when the Chair can exercise discretion.”

He confirmed that he had asked the chair of the Procedure Committee to review the current rules and report their findings to Parliament.

Creasy said she was "pleased to hear" that the rules were being reviewed, and that she hoped the changes would "make parenting and politics possible to mix".

She also pointed out that she was not currently allowed to attend and vote in the Chamber, as she was on the proxy voting list whilst on leave following the birth of her son.

In an email from the House authorities, sent on Tuesday, Creasy was reminded that Commons rules state that “you should not take your seat in the Chamber when accompanied by a child”, and that these rules also apply to Westminster Hall debates.

“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,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Mothers in the mother of all parliament are not to be seen or heard it seems.” 

Speaking to Sky’s Kay Burley on Wednesday, she said: "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."

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