Coming to Parliament with her three-month-old baby, British MP Stella Creasy was called to order. Faced with criticism, the institution promised on Wednesday to review its rules imposed on elected officials becoming parents.
Deeming “extremely important” that young parents can participate fully in parliamentary work, House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said “the rules must be seen in context” and that they “change over time”. He announced that a committee would look into the matter so that “the House can finally decide” after being seized by MP Alex Davies-Jones, “extremely worried” about the fate of his colleague Stella Creasy.
The MP protests on Twitter
The latter had come the day before with her sleeping baby Pip to participate in the discussions. The Labor opposition MP posted on Twitter a photo of an official email telling her that House of Commons rules stipulated that an MP could not come “with a child”.
“Apparently I can’t come with my well-behaved and sleepy three-month-old baby when I speak in the House,” she tweeted. It would seem that mothers are not to be seen or heard in the mother of all parliaments. “
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
A debate in many countries
The way MPs and other politicians reconcile their work and life as young parents have been under scrutiny for some time in several countries. In 2018, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern became a symbol of working mothers by bringing her baby Neve to the UN General Assembly in New York.
Since then, a Danish MP had been asked to leave her hemicycle with her five-month-old daughter. “We don’t want you with your baby in the Parliament Chamber,” the president of the chamber, Pia Kjærsgaard, told him.
In the UK, it is officially forbidden to take your child to the House of Commons. Last year, however, Lindsay Hoyle allowed MP Alex Davies-Jones to come with her baby.
Stella Creasy herself, who has long campaigned for a better inclusion of mothers in politics, had already come with her son or previously her daughter. She had thus appeared in the House of Commons at the end of September with her newborn baby to demand that mothers be supported rather than “reprimanded” when they returned to Parliament.
At the microphone of Times Radio, she “rejoiced” at the promised changes: “It is not rocket science to understand why there are not many parents of young children, and even fewer mothers, in our community. political class ”.
An “absurd” rule
The Labor MP received a lot of support: Green MP Caroline Lucas denounced an “absurd” rule and mischievously pointed out that babies in Parliament are generally “much less disruptive than many bawling MPs”.
There are, however, “divergent views” on the issue, as the Speaker pointed out. “Parents who get paid a fraction of what you earn pay for child care and juggle responsibilities so they can go to work. What makes you so special? Conservative Scott Benton asked on Twitter.
No real maternity leave for British MPs
For Stella Creasy, however, the question arises all the more so as British MPs do not benefit from real maternity leave, since they do not have the right – unlike ministers since February – to have someone on them. replace during their six-month leave.
“The inhabitants of [ma circonscription] would be deprived of any representation if I stopped working, ”she said in the Guardian, believing that a “three month old baby is too young to be left alone”.
The government has said it is generally in favor of “modern and flexible workplaces, as it should be in the 21st century,” according to a spokesperson for Boris Johnson who declined to say whether the Prime Minister intended to take his son Wilfred, born in April 2020.