Lindsay Hoyle under huge pressure to reform Commons: Fury erupts at outdated law

Election 2019: Stella Creasy brings two-week old baby to count

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The rule, which forbids MPs from bringing children into the Chamber, came under fire after MP Stella Creasy brought her three-month-old baby – who she is currently breastfeeding – to a debate in Westminster Hall. She subsequently received an email from the Deputy Speakers Office, reminding her that it was against the rules.

A furious Ms Creasy hit out at the letter, saying that “mothers…are not to be seen or heard” in Parliament.

She also noted that mask-wearing is still not compulsory for MPs in the Chamber.

The Labour MP for Walthamstow tweeted an image of the letter, saying: “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 parliaments are not to be seen or heard it seems…. #21stCenturyCalling.”

Speaking to Sky News, she questioned the rules, given that she has previously taken her two children into the Chamber before.

She said: “It’s a bit of a mystery to me because I have two children and I’ve taken them both previously into the Chamber as needs must to make sure my constituents have representation.

“I think it’s representative of the way as a mum you can’t win because if I had maternity cover it would be a different issue, and I don’t and I don’t want to short-change my residents.”

Fellow MPs have stood behind Ms Creasy, putting Speaker Lindsay Hoyle under pressure to change or clarify the rules.

Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones described the rule as a “complete contradiction” after she said she received an assurance from Sir Lindsay that she could breastfeed in the Chamber.

Meanwhile, Green MP Caroline Lucas described the rule as “absurd”, saying that it “absolutely needs to be challenged”.

She added that babies are “far less disruptive than many braying backbenchers”.

Ms Creasy’s son, Pip, was observed to be quiet and well behaved, leading former Tory minister Paul Maynard to “congratulate” the youngster for falling asleep.

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Speaking during the debate, he said: “I congratulate Pip on taking the sensible decision to fall asleep during his mother’s speech.

“He had a nice long sleep, as we can all observe, which was perhaps a sensible decision by him.”

Labour frontbencher Pat McFadden added: “I also thank our youngest member, who has attended the debate and been as good as gold throughout.”

The Private Secretary to Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor, who wrote the letter to Ms Creasy, said they had been “made aware” of the MP bringing her young son to the Commons.

They wrote: “We have been made aware that you were accompanied by your baby in Westminster Hall earlier today.

“I just wanted to make you aware that the recently published Rules of Behaviour and Courtesies in the House of Commons states that “you should not take your seat in the Chamber when accompanied by a child” (para 42).

“I would like to draw your attention to the fact that this also applies to debates in Westminster Hall.”

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