POLITICS
14/01/2019 15:15 GMT | Updated 14/01/2019 16:45 GMT

Pregnant MP Tulip Siddiq Delays Birth To Vote Against Theresa May's Brexit Deal

She said she couldn't trust parliament's flawed 'pairing' system.

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq has revealed she will delay the birth of her second child in order to vote against Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday. 

The heavily-pregnant Remainer – who was advised by doctors to have a Caesarian section today or tomorrow – told the Evening Standard she had pushed the operation back to Thursday so she could attend parliament this week. 

“If my son enters the world even one day later than the doctors advised, but it’s a world with a better chance of a strong relationship between Britain and Europe, then that’s worth fighting for,” Siddiq – who suffers from gestational diabetes – said, adding that she was delaying the birth “against doctor’s advice”. 

The Hampstead and Kilburn MP – who spent the weekend in hospital under observation after having steroid injections to help her baby’s lungs develop ahead of the birth – will be pushed through the lobby in a wheelchair by her husband. 

Siddiq said she could not trust parliament’s pairing system – which pairs sick or pregnant MPs with opposition politicians also unable to take part in a vote – after Tory MP Brandon Lewis broke a key pairing arrangement back in July

The senior Conservative was paired with Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson, who was on maternity leave, and claimed he made an “honest mistake’ when he broke the deal to back Theresa May in a crunch Brexit vote. 

“I am thinking about my child’s future when I made this decision – his future in the world. If it comes to an absolute emergency, I will of course prioritise the baby’s health,” Siddiq added. 

“I’m choosing in a sense between career and my family life and I feel it’s totally unfair and if we want more women in politics and we want people to come from different backgrounds, we need change and to introduce proxy voting.”

Calling for a proxy vote – where a vote is cast on someone’s behalf – for Siddiq in tomorrow’s crunch Brexit vote, Labour’s Harriet Harman, the Commons’ longest-serving female MP, told parliament on Monday that the pregnant politician should not be faced with the choice of delaying an operation or “losing her right to vote”. 

“How many babies do we collectively have to have in this House before we see any sort of change?” Labour’s Emma Reynolds added. 

Commons speaker John Bercow said it was “extremely regrettable” that a year after MPs first debated proxy voting, no changes had been made, adding that he was happy to facilitate change to allow a proxy vote for Siddiq. 

I hope we can get progressive change – and what better opportunity to do so than before our historic vote tomorrow,” Bercow told the House. 

PA Wire/PA Images
Tulip Siddiq will delay the birth of her baby to vote against Theresa May's Brexit deal on Tuesday