Babies of the House

The UK Parliament was not designed for women with children and this continues to present challenges for new parents. How far have things changed? 

Ben Jones
Ben Jones

In November 2021 the MP for Walthamstow, Stella Creasy, introduced a Westminster Hall debate on the promotion and regulation of financial products on Black Friday. Later that day, however, she discovered she had started a much wider debate. Dr Creasy received an email from the office of the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees the rules in Parliament, pointing out that the rules prohibited MPs taking their seats when accompanied by a child. Posting the letter on Twitter, Creasy remarked that: ‘Mothers in the mother of all parliament (sic) are not to be seen or heard it seems.’ This is only the latest example of the way women’s political participation is negotiated and policed in a system and space that was not designed for them and that has often struggled to accommodate their presence. 

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