British Lawmaker Says She Was Told Not to Bring Her Baby to Parliament: 'I Kind of Can't Win Here'
A British lawmaker is calling for change after she was told she broke the rules in bringing her three-month-old baby into the House of Commons, one of the chambers of British parliament, this week.
After attending a debate at Westminster Hall on Tuesday, British MP Stella Creasy said she was sent an email by a representative of Parliament's lower house, who explained that it was against the rules to bring a child when taking a seat in the Chamber.
"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….," Creasy, 44, wrote on Twitter after receiving the email, adding the hashtag, #21stCenturyCalling.
Speaking to the BBC, Creasy said she felt like she was in a lose-lose situation.
"My son is 13 weeks old, so I can't really leave him on his own and I don't have any maternity cover. So I kind of can't win here," she said, noting that she is also feeding her son, which further makes it difficult to leave him for long stretches of time.
The rules referenced in the email to Creasy state that members of Parliament "should not take your seat in the chamber when accompanied by your child, nor stand at either end of the Chamber, between divisions."
"I've been told very clearly that apparently Parliament has taken time to write a law that it's a parliamentary faux pas and against the courtesies of the house to bring a child with you," she told the BBC. "But we don't seem at the moment to have made a rule about wearing masks. It does seem to be a bit of a reflection of how Parliament was set up for another era when perhaps, you know, most MPs were men of a certain age and independent means."
Creasy — who has been a vocal proponent of extending maternity rights and parental leave to MPS — added that the rules as written are "not a system that works for anyone who isn't a man of a certain age from a certain background".
BBC reports that a committee of MPs are now reviewing the rules.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth made history in 2018 when she cast a vote on the Senate floor alongside her newborn baby. That appearance appearance came just one day after lawmakers, in a historic change in Senate rules, voted to allow babies of members on the floor during votes.