House of Commons / AP via AP
LONDON – Several British politicians on Wednesday called for a change in parliamentary rules after a lawmaker was told she could not bring her 3-month-old baby to the House of Commons.
Labor Party lawmaker Stella Creasy said she received a letter from House of Commons officials after taking her son Pip to a debate.
She said she had already taken Pip and her eldest daughter to Parliament without a problem, but was told the rules changed in September. MEPs are now informed that they “should not take a seat in the room when they are accompanied by your child”.
Creasy said the rule undermines efforts to make the policy more family-friendly.
“There are barriers to involving moms in politics, and I think that hurts our political debate,” she told the BBC.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, a conservative, said he had “a lot of sympathy” for Creasy, but said the decision was up to House officials.
“I think we need to make sure that our profession is integrated into the modern world, the 21st century, and can allow parents to juggle the chores they do with the family time they need.” Raab said.
Green Party lawmaker Caroline Lucas said the baby ban was “absurd.” She said the babies were “much less disruptive than many backbenchers who bray.”
House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said he had asked Parliament’s procedure committee to review the rules and noted that there were “divergent views on this issue.”
“The advice given yesterday (…) correctly reflects the current rules. However, the rules need to be put in context and they change over time,” he said.
“It is extremely important that parents of babies and young children can participate fully in the work of this House.