/Stella Creasy quizzes Government over abortion rights holding gurgling baby

Stella Creasy quizzes Government over abortion rights holding gurgling baby

Labour’s Stella Creasy has quizzed Tory ministers on access to abortion in Northern Ireland – holding her daughter in her arms.

She asked what the government plans to do if the Northern Ireland Assembly “continues to say they will not commission these [abortion] services.”

It comes at the height of a row between MPs and the Government over the Commons being rushed back into holding physical sessions in Westminster.

Yesterday Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, spoke from the dispatch box just hours before isolating with coronavirus symptoms.

Ms Creasy quizzed the Northern Ireland office minister Robin Walker on access to abortion in Northern Ireland while holding her daughter, Hettie.

Ms Creasy, who has long campaigned on the issue, said: “We all recognise that this is a difficult issue for many and that there are strongly-held views on all sides of this debate.

“But one of the reasons why this House stood up for the human rights of all women in the United Kingdom was just because it was too difficult didn’t mean that their rights should be denied.

“Devolution doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility to uphold the human rights of every UK citizen.

“And I respect the argument that the minister is making, as does my daughter, that the human rights are at the heart of all of this, and that the role of the Assembly should be to come up with its alternative proposals if it doesn’t like these regulations.

Stella Creasy was elected while holding her daughter in a sling
(Image: Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)
Hettie was an unexpected guest of her mum in the chamber

“Because to not propose these regulations would mean further delay and possibly women making unsafe choices in Northern Ireland because there isn’t clarity about what services are available to them.”

Before speaking Ms Creasy tweeted that she hoped her daughter would behave herself.

It is not young Hettie’s first political appearance.

She joined her mum when she was re-elected in December, when she was sworn into the Commons and appears in Ms Creasy’s official parliamentary portrait.

Ms Creasy has long campaigned for the rights of MP mums in Parliament.

Last year she became the first MP to hire a “locum MP” to provide maternity cover for her constituency work after demanding parliamentary pay board fund for someone to cover her work during her maternity leave.

She was also key in Parliament backing proxy voting for MPs on parental leave.

The proxy voting debate was reignited when MP Tulip Siddiq delayed giving birth to attend a Brexit-deal vote.

Replying for the Government, Mr Walker said: “I do think that it is important that we should end the need to travel and that is what these regulations properly implemented should do.”

He added that “is not something that can necessarily be done instantly” and “will continue to fund and support travel in the interim”.

Mr Walker added: “We will work with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, provide them with the support that they need and continue to engage with the relevant medical bodies to make sure that this process can be completed as quickly as possible.”

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