Emma speaks in the debate on proxy voting

A motion will be put to MPs on Monday (28 Jan) deciding whether MPs on maternity and paternity leave will be able to nominate a fellow MP to vote on their behalf. If the motion is passed, a 12-month trial will immediately take place.

Last week Labour MP Tulip Siddiq had to delay the caesarean birth of her child to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal, passing through the voting lobby in a wheelchair.

Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds, who is pregnant with her second child, commented on the proposed changes:

“It is really good news that we are dragging Parliament into the 21st century. If the motion goes through on Monday, new mums and dads will be granted a proxy vote so they can continue to represent their constituents.”

Under current rules MPs on maternity and paternity leave can arrange to be ‘paired’ with an MP from an opposing party, who would agree to not vote so the result is not affected. However, trust in the pairing system was undermined in July last year when Conservative MP Brandon Lewis broke a pairing arrangement on crucial Brexit votes with Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson – who was on maternity leave at the time.

On pairing, Emma said:

“Trust in the pairing system has been undermined and it doesn’t allow new mums and dads to represent their constituents. In 2017, I was accused of having one of the worst voting records by a national newspaper, with no right of reply or qualification that I was on maternity leave.

“Constituents want their MPs to be able to use their vote and have their say on legislation which affects them. I am delighted that I will be able to represent my constituents and vote on key legislation after I have my baby in June.”

Emma contributed to the debate on Proxy Voting and you can watch her contribution to that debate here.