Speaker: MPs should be allowed to make call on babies at debates

Under the current rules, MPs are allowed to bring their babies with them when voting but not when participating in debates

PA Reporter
Tuesday 28 December 2021 06:56
<p>Labour MP Stella Creasy holds her baby daughter in the House of Commons</p>

Labour MP Stella Creasy holds her baby daughter in the House of Commons

Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has said he is in favour of letting MPs bring their babies with them for parliamentary debates as long as they are not disrupting proceedings.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Sir Lindsay said the chair of the debate should be allowed to make the call on whether the presence of a baby is impeding discussions.

Under the current rules, MPs are allowed to bring their babies with them when voting but not when participating in debates.

The speaker requested a review into whether the rules should be updated amid an outcry over Labour’s Stella Creasy being told she can no longer have her three-month-old son with her.

Sir Lindsay told the paper his view was that the “chair on the day has got to make a decision”.

Referencing Ms Creasy’s son, he said: “I saw that baby come into the chamber when I was in the chair. And did it affect the debate? No. Was it a quiet and peaceful baby? Absolutely. Did it disrupt? Not in the slightest. So did it matter to me? Absolutely not.

“What I would say, and I’ll be quite honest with you, is each chair will make a decision. Unfortunately it’s become highly political.

“It is now for others to decide, that’s why the committee is reviewing it. And I will then have to respect [that decision]”

Sir Lindsay has asked the cross-party Procedure Committee to examine the rules and whether changes were needed, but has said he and his deputies could use their discretion in applying the existing measures.

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