POLITICS

Labour MP Roger Godsiff Says Parliamentary Nursery Should Be A Pub

15/05/2013 18:04 BST | Updated 15/05/2013 18:22 BST
Alamy

A Labour MP has called for the nursery in the House of Commons to be closed - and said it was better when it was a pub.

Roger Godsiff has tabled a motion lamenting the loss of the "extremely popular" bar, converted into a childcare centre in 2009.

The veteran Labour MP was criticised by Lib Dem Jenny Willott, who uses the facility and said there were already plenty of bars for members to booze in.

The nursery, championed by Commons Speaker John Bercow, has been the source of much criticism since it opened, due to the cost, with one Tory MP branding it a "grotesque waste of money".

Now Godsiff, the MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath, has tabled an Early Day Motion calling for the fees to be increased or for it to be put to "more well-used and income-generating purposes."

His motion said MPs had not been allowed to debate the decision to close the "extremely popular and well-used Bellamy's Bar and the Astor Suite", which he said had been refurbished to the tune of £480,000.

In light of cuts to Sure Start centres across the country, he said, "this continual drain on public monies is no longer justifiable".

But Willott, who used the nursery for her first child and is currently on maternity leave with her second, said there was now a waiting list to sign up, and added that it was not subsidised.

"It has made life significantly easier for those of us who have had children during this Parliament," she said.

"It would be very, very difficult for me to manage if it wasn't there."

She added: "There are plenty of places in Parliament where people can go and drink. There's only one nursery.

"I think it doesn't send out a very good sense of priorities that people are arguing that we should have yet another bar instead of decent childcare."