Committee to review rules on bringing babies into the Commons Chamber
20 January 2022
The Procedure Committee is to take evidence on whether babies should be permitted in the Chamber and Westminster Hall.
The Procedure Committee is inviting views from Members of Parliament and other interested parties on a number of issues relating to the presence of babies being permitted in the House of Commons Chamber or Westminster Hall, including:
- Whether the presence of babies during parliamentary proceedings in the House of Commons should be prohibited or permitted;
- Whether the rules should remain in guidance issued by the Speaker and his Deputies, or be captured in the House’s Standing Orders;
- What guidance Members should be given on the circumstances in which they should (and should not) be accompanied by their child;
- What discretion should be available to Members chairing debates in the Chamber, Westminster Hall and legislative committees.
The Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, referred the matter to the Committee on 24 November. Current guidance to Members states that “you should not take your seats in the Chamber when accompanied by your child”.
Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Chair of the Procedure Committee, said:
“Following a request from Speaker to look at this issue and make recommendations, the Committee will take evidence from Members of Parliament and other interested parties. So far, we have looked at practice across a range of other Parliaments which we will reflect in our findings.
“We are aware that there are strong views on this issue on both sides of the debate, and there is an important wider question relating to the support available to MPs who are new parents.
“We are going to take evidence with a view to ensuring, as Mr Speaker said in November, that parents of babies and young children are able to participate fully in the work of this House.”
Submissions are invited up to Friday 18 February.
Image: Parliamentary Copyright