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Friday December 03, 2021

Breastfeeding UK MP contests Commons baby ban

By AFP
November 25, 2021

London: A British MP won a promise of parliamentary reforms on Wednesday after she was rebuked by an official for bringing her sleeping baby to a debate.

Stella Creasy, an opposition Labour lawmaker who has campaigned for MPs to be offered full maternity cover, received the warning after speaking at a debate on Tuesday while holding her three-month-old son Pip.

The London MP tweeted an email from an official at the House of Commons citing a rule that "you should not take your seat in the chamber when accompanied by a child". "Mothers in the mother of all parliaments are not to be seen or heard it seems," Creasy complained.

Her treatment prompted anger from MPs on all sides and promises of a review of the current rules, which officials admitted had been applied inconsistently. The Speaker of the House of Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, told MPs that he had not known of the official’s rebuke.

But he stressed: "It is extremely important that parents of babies and young children are able to participate fully in the work of this House." Creasy said she was "pleased to hear this". Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose wife Carrie is expecting their second child, backs reforms but the decision is up to the House of Commons, according to his official spokesman. "We want the workplace in any circumstances to be modern and flexible and fit for the 21st century," the spokesman said.