Women MPs claimed a small victory yesterday in their battle for the right to breastfeed in the House of Commons chamber and committee rooms.
Betty Boothroyd, the Speaker, met the minister for Women, Tessa Jowell, the Education minister Margaret Hodge and other female MPs to discuss the issue. Although Ms Boothroyd refused to lift a ban imposed earlier this year, she agreed to think again if women needed to feed babies who were ill or premature.
She also said she would like to see more children's menus in MPs' restaurants as part of more family-friendly policies. Ms Hodge, a founder of a cross-party group to press for such reforms, said the meeting had been constructive and the Speaker's attitude helpful.
"When I had my first child you could not breastfeed anywhere," she said. "Now even in [the department store] John Lewis you can find a place to feed and change a baby, and we have really got to modernise this institution, too."