Heavily pregnant MP Tulip Siddiq – who delayed the birth of her second child to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal yesterday – will return to Westminster for the vote of confidence tonight.
Siddiq, who is set to have an elective cesarean section on Thursday after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, confirmed in a tweet that she would travel to parliament in order to be “nodded through” for the challenge to the government.
It comes after the 36-year-old was pushed through parliament in a wheelchair on Tuesday night in order to add her vote to the historic 432 - 202 defeat of May’s Brexit exit policy, having gone against doctor’s advice to delay the birth of her baby.
“In light of the PM’s personal assurances to me yesterday, I will be ‘nodded through’ for tonight’s vote of no confidence,” the Hampstead and Kilburn MP wrote.
MPs who are unable to pass through the Commons division lobby because they are ill or have a small child with them can be “nodded through” – meaning their vote is still counted if they are on the parliamentary estate.
“Nodding through is not ideal, I will still have to travel to Parliament & wait for whips to check I am present even though I am giving birth tomorrow,” Siddiq continued.
“The UK is in chaos and, clearly, much greater issues face the country, but Parliament needs dragging into the 21st century ASAP.”
Siddiq – who is understood to have been offered a pairing but turned it down –called the pairing system “broken”. Under that convention, sick or pregnant MPs are paired with opposition MPs also unable to take part in a vote in order to cancel one another out.
But in July, Tory MP Brandon Lewis broke a key pairing arrangement with Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson, who was on maternity leave, in order to back May in a crunch Brexit vote. He later said it was an “honest mistake”.
Meanwhile, the Labour backbencher’s dilemma comes more than a year after MPs first debated proxy voting – a system which would absent MPs to nominated someone to vote on their behalf.
Speaking in the parliament on Monday, Commons speaker John Bercow said it was “extremely regrettable” that no progress had been made since then, adding to calls from MPs for proxy voting to be introduced as soon as possible.