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The Speaker has 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.
I have been heavily lobbied not to change the rules, by other mothers
Sir Lindsay Hoyle
Sir Lindsay hinted at the comments he had received on the issue earlier this week, when he told MPs that “there are differing views on the matter”.
He gave further details in an interview with the BBC’s Newscast, telling the programme: “I have been heavily lobbied not to change the rules, by other mothers… I have texts on my phone saying do not give in.”
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.
He told MPs on Wednesday it is “extremely important” that parents can fully participate in parliamentary work.
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).
Mothers in the mother of all parliament are not to be seen or heard it seems….#21stCenturyCalling pic.twitter.com/rKB7WbYQrL
— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) November 23, 2021
Ms Creasy, a mother of two, welcomed the review after she was emailed by authorities about rules prohibiting bringing children to debates after bringing son Pip into a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday.
Sir Lindsay said he was unaware that the warning was going to be issued to Ms Creasy but accepted it “correctly reflects the current rules”.
“However, rules have to be seen in context and they change with the times,” he told MPs.
Walthamstow MP Ms Creasy said she hopes the move “means some of these rules will be reviewed to make parenting and politics possible to mix”.
Pip, who is breastfeeding, has regularly attended the Commons, as did Ms Creasy’s older daughter.