By Claire Zillman
February 10, 2017

On Wednesday, Labour MP Harriet Harman tweeted a photo of a baby on the lap of another MP seated in the first row of the House of Commons. “Beautiful baby in the House of Commons!! Hooray!!” Harman said in her post.

The baby in the photograph was at least the second child in as many weeks to enter the House of Commons as MPs debated high-profile legislation related to the U.K.’s divorce from the EU. Last week, Chloe Smith, a Tory MP, interrupted her maternity leave to appear for a vote on a Brexit measure and brought her young son along.

The children’s presence in the U.K. legislature is reminiscent of the time last year when Icelandic MP Unnur Bra Konradsdottir breastfed her baby while giving a parliamentary speech. Konradsdottir downplayed the incident at the time: “It’s like any job: You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow gave a similarly nonchalant response to Smith’s baby, which some observers interpreted as sign of real progress for working parents. “I say to the honorable lady, don’t be sheepish about it,” Bercow said. “The little baby is welcome to come in. There’s no problem.”



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