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Lawmaker contests UK parliament baby ban



Stella Creasy wants clearer rules after being told she could not bring her young son into the chamber at parliament during debates (AFP/Handout)

LONDON (AFP) — A British member of parliament (MP) won a promise of reform in the House of Commons on Wednesday after she was rebuked by an official for bringing her sleeping baby to a debate.

Stella Creasy, an opposition Labor lawmaker who has campaigned for MP to be offered full maternity cover, received the warning after speaking at a debate on Tuesday while holding her three-month-old son Pip.

The London MP tweeted an email from an official at the House of Commons citing a rule that “you should not take your seat in the chamber when accompanied by a child.”

“Mothers in the mother of all parliaments are not to be seen or heard it seems,” Creasy complained.

Her treatment prompted anger from MP on all sides and promises of a review of the current rules, which officials admitted had been applied inconsistently.

Despite the formal ban, MP have previously brought babies to debates without reprimand. Former Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was the first to do so in 2018.

Alex Davies-Jones, a Labour MP, tweeted that when elected in 2019 she was breastfeeding and Hoyle assured her she would be able to feed her baby in the House of Commons itself or Westminster Hall, an adjacent historic building that is used for less significant debates.