MP’s hope af­ter taking baby into the Com­mons

Yorkshire Post - - POLITICS & ECONOMY -

LIB­ERAL DEMO­CRAT MP Jo Swin­son has said she hopes taking her baby into a Com­mons de­bate sig­nals a step for­ward in mod­ernising Par­lia­ment.

The party’s deputy leader ap­peared in the cham­ber with Gabriel on Thurs­day to lis­ten to the clos­ing re­marks of a dis­cus­sion about proxy vot­ing, which could al­low MPs on ma­ter­nity and pa­ter­nity leave to nom­i­nate a col­league to cast their vote in their ab­sence.

Ear­lier in the sum­mer Ms Swin­son was “fu­ri­ous” when Tory chair­man Bran­don Lewis – who she was paired with while on parental leave, mean­ing nei­ther would take part in Com­mons vot­ing – joined a crunch Brexit vote in July.

Mr Lewis claimed he was not aware of the pair­ing ar­range­ment at the time of the vote. But Ms Swin­son told BBC Ra­dio 4’s To­day pro­gramme: “It was not an hon­est mis­take.

“It was very de­lib­er­ate and it tran­spired in the days after­wards that other MPs had been asked to break their pairs and very hon­ourably had told their chief whip to get lost.”

Ms Swin­son said that taking 11-week-old Gabriel into the cham­ber, in what is thought to be a first in a Com­mons de­bate, seemed the nat­u­ral thing to do. She told BBC Good Morn­ing Scot­land: “I spoke early on in the de­bate. The con­ven­tion is that you come back at the end of the de­bate to lis­ten to the fi­nal speeches.

“By that time I’d had to leave the cham­ber, I’d had to go and feed my baby and he had then fallen asleep on me in the baby car­rier, and the op­tions were: wake him up and hand him to some­body else for 20 min­utes, or go in and sit down, do no harm, and he stayed asleep for most of it.

“I think it’s a step for­ward for mod­ernising Par­lia­ment and for send­ing a mes­sage that it re­ally needs to be pos­si­ble for par­ents to be able to com­bine their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for their chil­dren with their work­ing lives, and all too of­ten that is made too dif­fi­cult.

“That won’t al­ways mean taking your child to work, but in the case of very small ba­bies, for peo­ple who are work­ing at that stage then that can be just one of the ways in which work­places can modernise and there could be flex­i­bil­ity in or­der to make it pos­si­ble.”

Com­ment­ing on proxy vot­ing, she said it would not be a dif­fi­cult change to make to say some­one else could vote on be­half of an MP.

The MP for East Dun­bar­ton­shire, said: “We should take those op­por­tu­ni­ties to just make it a lit­tle bit more pos­si­ble.”

JO SWIN­SON: Said she thought taking her baby to a Par­lia­men­tary de­bate was ‘a step for­ward’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.