Labour MP calls for breastfeeding to be allowed in the House of Commons chamber

Yahoo News UK
Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones wants breastfeeding to be allowed in the House of Commons chamber (Alex Davies-Jones)
Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones wants breastfeeding to be allowed in the House of Commons chamber (Alex Davies-Jones)

A Labour MP has called for breastfeeding to be allowed in the House of Commons chamber.

Alex Davies-Jones, MP for Pontypridd, says she wants to break down the stigma for mothers.

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On Wednesday she posted a photo on Twitter of herself breastfeeding 10-month-old son Sullivan.

Speaking about the decision to post the picture, she told Yahoo News UK: "I had inner turmoil for about an hour about whether I should post the picture because it's a big thing to do.

"And then it hit me - why is it a big thing to do?

"If I was giving him a bottle I wouldn't think twice. It's exactly the same.

"I thought the whole reason why I'm in turmoil about it is exactly the reason why I should. It needs to be normalised."

Fellow Labour MP Stella Creasy Labour accepts her victory in the 2019 general election with daughter Hettie in a baby sling (Getty)
Fellow Labour MP Stella Creasy Labour accepts her victory in the 2019 general election with daughter Hettie in a baby sling (Getty)

Davies-Jones said she was concerned she would face a backlash online after posting the picture, but in fact she was overwhelmed with positive responses.

"I was worried I might get some negativity and a couple of people saying 'Why are you doing this, you're an MP and you've got your boobs out on Twitter.'

"But the response has been overwhelming, I've been so happy with the response and it's been so positive.”

She also argues that MPs should be allowed to breastfeed in the House of Commons chamber.

Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons (PA)
Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons (PA)

In the year 2000 an official policy stated that breastfeeding in the House of Commons chamber and committee rooms was not allowed.

Former speaker John Bercow carried out a review in 2017 to make the Commons more family friendly, but no specific policy was brought in on whether breastfeeding should be permitted.

There is therefore no rule banning breastfeeding, and it is not clear what would happen if an MP did do it.

Davies-Jones said she discussed the issue with speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who said that technically an MP could breastfeed and he would have to “just deal with it there and then”.

She said: “If we are debating in the chamber for hours on end and I need to be in that debate and I can’t get out, what am I meant to do?” she said.

“There’s not a clear policy in place.”

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In June 2017, an Australian senator made history by delivering a speech in parliament while nursing her daughter.

Larissa Waters discussed a disease affecting coal miners while feeding daughter Alia Joy.

In 2018, Canadian politician Karina Gould breastfed her three-month-old son while sitting in the lower chamber.

She tweeted afterwards: “No shame in breastfeeding! Baby’s gotta eat & I had votes.”

A House of Commons spokesperson told Yahoo News UK: “We recognise that having suitable facilities are vitally important for breastfeeding mothers, which is why the House of Commons provides a number of private spaces across the Estate.

“There is currently no formal policy around breastfeeding in the Chamber, however any requests from Members would be considered with sensitivity.”

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