U.K. MP Reprimanded for Taking Baby to Debate in Parliament
The U.K. parliament will review its rules governing the attendance of lawmakers’ babies after MP Stella Creasy was reprimanded for bringing her three-month-old son to a debate in parliament.
Creasy, an MP from the opposition Labour Party, tweeted an email in which she was reminded on Tuesday about regulations that prohibit lawmakers from taking their children inside the main chamber. It seemed as if “mothers in the mother of all parliament are not to be seen or heard,” she said.
The backlash sparked Speaker Lindsay Hoyle to order a review of the regulations. Hoyle told MPs on Wednesday that rules “change with the times” and said that Procedure Committee Chairwoman Karen Bradley would oversee the matter, according to PA Media.
“This House has to be able to function professionally and without disturbance,” Hoyle said. “However, sometimes there may be occasions when the chair can exercise discretion.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Creasy also took to Twitter to respond to a user who questioned whether any mother can claim the freedom to take children to their workplace: “It’s actually a legal right not to be discriminated against because you are breastfeeding.” She dismissed the criticism as out of step for the “21st century where we make it possible for women to be parliamentarians.”
Another Labour MP, Alex Davies-Jones, tweeted that the rule was a “complete contradiction”, given that she was previously granted permission to breastfeed her baby in the Commons.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab expressed sympathy for Creasy, saying that the presence of a child “wouldn’t distract me or get in the way of me doing my job,” the BBC reported. Creasy has a history of campaigning on parental issues, including better maternity cover, support for parents in politics and a change in rules for proxy voting when MPs are on parental leave.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern became the first world leader to take an infant to the United Nations General Assembly in New York during a period in which she was breastfeeding her then three-month-old daughter.
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