Labour MP who delayed birth of son to vote in Commons welcomes voting proxy plan

Proxy voting for new parents will be introduced in the Commons in a one-year trial.

New mothers and fathers will be able to nominate another MP as a proxy to vote on their behalf. It comes after Labour MP Tulip Siddiq delayed her Caesarean birth to vote on the Brexit deal.

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said MPs will have the choice to approve the pilot next Monday.

I profoundly believe that all new parents should be able to spend uninterrupted time with their new baby. This is vital for both the physical and mental well-being of parents and babies. So I absolutely assure the House, I am absolutely committed to making progress on the issue of proxy voting and I am truly delighted to be able to confirm to the House today that a substantive motion on proxy leave in the case of maternity, paternity and adoption has been tabled today for the House's agreement on Monday 28 January.

– ANDREA LEADSOM, COMMONS LEADER

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq welcomed the announcement as a "momentous change".

She tweeted a photo of herself watching proceedings in the Commons with her new baby boy.

Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson, who tabled the urgent question, welcomed the pilot scheme but said it was "overdue".

I thought things were pretty bad when back in June, in the heatwave, I was 10 days past my due date - but the Government's response to the House's instruction to introduce proxy voting gives a whole new meaning to the word overdue. It's shameful that last week (Tulip Siddiq) was put in the invidious position of having to try to make a choice between potential health risks to her baby and whether or not her constituents could have their voice heard on the biggest issue of our time. Nobody should be put in that position.

– JO SWINSON, LIB DEM DEPUTY LEADER

Objecting to Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch's accusations Ms Siddiq had delayed her caesarean to "make a point" on Brexit, Ms Swinson added:

Some have suggested she was just trying to make a point and I think that is disgusting.

She was put in an impossible position and she made a choice, and the judgement that comes from all corners to parents making choices like this and all sorts of others is out of order and I think we should respect the choice she made.

– JO SWINSON, LIB DEM DEPUTY LEADER
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