MPs should be banned from bringing babies into Commons chamber, review says
Labour MP Stella Creasy is prohibited from bringing her young son into the Commons following the ban
Babies should be prohibited from the House of Commons chamber during debates, a cross-party review has recommended.
The Procedure Committee report was demanded, following mounting opposition to Labour MP Stella Creasy brining her baby son into the Commons with her.
The group ruled that MPs should not bring babies into the chamber or nearby Westminster Hall if they want to “observe, initiate, speak or intervene in proceedings”.
But they said there should be a “degree of de-facto discretion” that “should be exercised sparingly”.
Despite ruling on the matter, the committee did back the “overwhelming balance of evidence” on the extension of proxy voting for “serious long-term illness”.
Chair of the Committee and Conservative MP, Karen Bradley, said a debate should be scheduled in the coming weeks to discuss the extension of proxy voting.
“On the balance of evidence received, the committee also recommends that current rules remain and members should not bring babies into the House of Commons chamber or Westminster Hall proceedings,” she added.
Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle ordered the review in November after Ms Creasy was informed she could no longer bring her son Pip, then three months old, into debates.
The mother-of-two, who represents Walthamstow, in London, anticipated the review would permit “parenting and politics possible to mix”.
Ms Creasy was shocked when Commons authorities emailed her rules prohibiting bringing children to debates after she took Pip into Westminster Hall.
The Labour MP's child had been described as "good as gold" during debates.
The previous year Sir Lindsay said he “wouldn’t be upset by” a mother dividing to breastfeed in the chamber.
But the committee’s report said it was a “long-standing practice” underpinned by previous rulings that “babies should not be present”.
Many MPs were supportive of Ms Creasy, with Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab saying he had “a lot of sympathy” for her and that he would not be distracted by a baby.
But Conservative MP Alicia Kearns argued the chamber is “no place” for a baby.
“I’ve asked to leave debates to feed my child a few times – I have never been turned down,” she said.