If possible, no babies in Parliament: British MPs should not bring their offspring to the House of Commons, committees or Westminster Hall if they want to follow the processes there or get involved – according to an instruction published on Thursday by the responsible committee. However, there may be a kind of “discretionary scope” that should be used “sparingly” by the respective chairmen.
The rules had been re-examined at the request of Speaker of the House Lindsay Hoyle after Labor MP Stella Creasy was outraged by a warning email from Parliament’s administration. She had occasionally brought her baby with her before and had even been praised for his good behavior. The politician called for more participation for MPs with small children. After the publication of the new directive, Creasy criticized that the responsible committee had not obtained any external opinions. “Change only comes about when we listen to those who are outside the status quo,” she said.
The committee’s justification stated that babies should not be present in the chamber as a matter of principle, it was “long-standing practice”. Although there have been cases in which members of parliament have brought their offspring with them without disrupting the processes, it has led to “some confusion” and a gap between the rules and practice.