As a mother of three toddlers, I say to Stella Creasy: No, you can’t bring your second job to Parliament, writes CLARE FOGES 

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Order! Order! The Speaker of the House of Commons may soon be chasing real kids – as well as MPs who act like them – if Stella Cressey gets her way.

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Members of Walthamstow are campaigning to allow politicians to bring their infants into the chambers of parliament, after their three-month-old son was scolded for bringing up a debate.

Shortly after she was seen with a baby girl tied to her chest, Miss Cressey received an email from a parliamentary body alerting her to the rules of ‘behavior and etiquette’, stating that you are a child. cannot be brought into the commons.


‘News to me,’ he said angrily. ‘Apparently Parliament has written a rule that means I can’t take my three-month-old well behaved child into the chamber while speaking.’

The MP has the form of bringing children into arms for the Commons – this is his second child to have appeared in these hallowed halls – and is in the air demanding change.

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And almost all of her male-folk — terrified of looking like sexist dinosaurs — are falling on themselves to oblige.

Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has said that politicians need to ensure that ‘our profession is brought into the modern world’, while Speaker Sir Lindsey Hoyle says that for parents as a whole in the House work Being able to participate is ‘extremely important’.

After being scolded for bringing her three-month-old son into an argument, Stella Cressey is campaigning to allow her babies to be brought into the chambers of parliament.

‘Red Wall’ Tory MP Scott Benton, perhaps out of fear that we’re two strokes of a rattle away from the nappy-changing mat in the dispatch box, had the courage to speak up, saying: ‘Parents who get what you pay for Pay a part of that for childcare and responsibilities so they can go to work. What makes you so special?’

Don’t get me wrong, I admire Miss Crissy. He’s an energetic parliamentarian who has scored some significant victories, like curbing those dreaded payday loan companies. But he is wrong on this.

Having a child in the Chamber of Commons is as conducive to the proper functioning of Parliament as a rabid ferret walking around on green benches.

Children are the enemy of clear thinking. They scream, they cry, they give off a foul smell. They are also completely thoughtless about interrupting when you make an important point.

I am not writing this as someone who thinks that children should be seen and not heard, but as someone who has had three children in three years and thus happily watches them all day and listens.

They are great as children, but they are very undesirable as allies. I also struggle to make scrambled eggs while my kids are fighting – so how on earth is an MP to participate in debates on great matters of the state or pay attention to the finer points of fiscal policy with a pin on a child’s chest? To focus?

As distractions go, they certainly rumble over MPs’ second jobs, the thrust of that argument being that working on other things means members can’t concentrate enough on the day’s work.

Surely the same principle applies here: can you really represent your constituents when you’re lulling a baby back to sleep? Do not care about the second job, taking care of the child is also equal to the third and fourth job.

I am not saying that work and young children should not mix. Often they have to. I write it in the front seat of my car while my toddler son naps in the back, dulcet chords of ‘We Willie Winky’ and other lullabies on the CD player.

I have tapped dozens of articles with one hand at two o’clock in the morning while holding the feeding baby with the other.

Miss Crissy is an energetic parliamentarian who has scored some significant victories, like cracking down on those dreaded payday loan companies.  But he's wrong on this one, says Claire Foggs (pictured)

Miss Crissy is an energetic parliamentarian who has scored some significant victories, like cracking down on those dreaded payday loan companies. But he’s wrong on this one, says Claire Foggs (pictured)

Not that I feel like a ‘superwoman’ in any way. It’s an overly bed-drawn woman who is nearing meltdown as one of the kids has Cow & Gate oatmeal powder on her Mac keyboard, making the ‘u’ unusable. Or ‘Nusable’ if I don’t press the key hard enough.

But all this happens behind closed doors. If I ever had a face-to-face meeting, or a public engagement, I wouldn’t have dreamed of bringing my eight-month-old with me.

Because although my world revolves around my children, I recognize that the rest of the world doesn’t revolve around them.

Why should other people be made to feel uncomfortable, irritated or distracted by my children? While I find my kids raving about dinosaurs and zoos enjoyable, I’m well aware that others won’t.

Also, while some offices may have the scope to allow children along for the ride, the House of Commons is a very special workplace.

It is the heart of our democracy, the crucible of a national debate on issues that will shape the lives of 67 million people. It should feel like a holy place, not like a nursery.

‘What’s wrong with a small child?’ You might ask, as did Miss Crissy. But if she wants to bring her three-month-old, what can stop another member from bringing her two-year-old or four-year-old?

We live in such difficult times that I would not be surprised if bringing your child into the Commons becomes a ‘progressive’ badge of honor.

No, Miss Crissy should continue to support her more worthy cause, namely securing an official period of paid maternity leave to backbench lawmakers.

Although all MPs are paid in full on maternity, paternity or adoption leave, not all their duties in Parliament are covered during their absence, creating uncertainty not only for constituents but for MPs. There is also concern about how long their absence should last.

Let’s hope Miss Chrissy wins that fight – but not the one to get the kids on the green bench.

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