It's an outmoded system that makes life harder for MPs who are parents, pregnant or unwell. So why isn't parliament moving on?by Marie Le Conte / January 16, 2019 / Leave a comment
Brexit has done many things to our political discourse—most of them bad. A bleakly amusing one is that it keeps shining a light on odd and outdated bits of parliamentary procedure.
Take the case of Jo Swinson last summer. The Liberal Democrat MP had recently given birth and was due to be “paired” with Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis on a knife edge vote, meaning that he would not go vote either, thus cancelling out her absence. He did vote in the end, and chaos ensued.
This brings us to what happened this week, Labour MP Tulip Siddiq postponing her caesarian to be in the Commons for the Meaningful Vote, and why it happened: Siddiq said she no longer trusted the pairing system.
“We urgently need a better system for women who are heavily pregnant or MPs who are seriously ill”, said Labour MP Diana Johnson. “In any other workplace this would not be tolerated.”
“I fully understand that the role of an MP is a unique one but new ways of treating MPs with decency and compassion, as we would expect for our constituents, is long overdue.”
It did not have to go this way; over the past year, MPs have debated the idea of proxy voting twice, but things are yet to change. This is partly because Westm…