Jacob Rees-Mogg: I have to bring daughter into Commons because 'no-one else to look after her'

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Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said he has to bring his daughter with him to parliament during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)
Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said he has to bring his daughter with him to parliament during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)

Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he will have to bring his daughter into parliament because he cannot find childcare during the coronavirus crisis.

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The Conservative MP and leader of the House of Commons, who has six children, revealed he will have no choice but to take one of them with him when he makes a statement to MPs.

Rees-Mogg said no one else was able to look after his daughter when he makes an announcement to the Commons because the rest of his family are in Somerset.

He made the revelation while being questioned remotely by the Commons procedure committee on Monday.

Rees-Mogg expressed sympathy for MPs unable to attend parliament because of parental responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, he has faced fierce criticism over his insistence that MPs should vote in the Commons in person, which led to long queues of politicians through parliament last week.

The committee asked Rees-Mogg about the parliamentary procedures put in place after the government dropped virtual proceedings for most situations and said MPs had to attend in person.

"I think everyone has sympathy for people with parental responsibilities. It is such an important responsibility for all of us.” he told MPs.

“As it happens, this evening, I shall be moving a motion on sitting Fridays and one of my children is going to have to come into the House of Commons and sit in my office whilst I'm doing this because there is no-one else to look after her because my family are at home in Somerset, one child who's back at school.

"This is very complicated and I can sympathise with members, and I have some experience of it, inevitably."

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Social distancing requirements limit MP numbers in the chamber to 50 and the length of time it took for MPs to vote led to calls from the opposition for Rees-Mogg to resign as Commons Leader last week.

He said virtual participation was still allowed for those who cannot attend for medical or health reasons.

Social distancing measures require MPs to join a queue, keep two metres apart, walk through the Commons chamber and announce their vote.

Last Tuesday, the queue stretched for several hundred metres, snaking throughout the parliamentary estate, with the first vote running for 46 minutes.

Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, queuing outside parliament with other MPs to vote last Tuesday. (PA)
Leader of the House of Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, queuing outside parliament with other MPs to vote last Tuesday. (PA)

Rees-Mogg told the committee: "I don't think MPs should be ashamed about queuing for 45 minutes.

"I don't think that was an impossible burden put on members of parliament – I think it's something our constituents are quite used to."

Later on Monday, while speaking during an emergency debate on how the House of Commons conducts its business during the pandemic, Rees-Mogg said he was "giving thought" to allowing a greater number of MPs to vote by proxy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said: "I am giving thought to bringing forward a motion that extends proxy voting beyond what has already been agreed by the House to include members that are more widely affected by the pandemic."

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