Tulip Siddiq MP has delayed giving birth in order to vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal today.
Siddiq has been advised by doctors to have a caesarean section, but agreed to push the procedure back to Thursday so she can vote. The Hampstead and Kilburn MP plans to go through the lobby in a wheelchair.
Fellow Labour MP Harriet Harman said Ms Siddiq “should not have to choose” between her caesarean and her vote.
And Speaker of the Commons John Bercow said that a proxy vote for Ms Siddiq would be his “preference,” but it was not in his power to grant it. This process normally means an MP’s vote can be counted if they are anywhere on the parliamentary estate, rather than going through the voting lobby.
Ms Siddiq told the Evening Standard that she had a difficult first pregnancy with her two-year-old daughter, and was originally due to give birth to her second child by elective caesarean section on 4 February.
But after developing gestational diabetes, her doctors recommended she bring the date forward to a delivery this Monday or Tuesday.
She spoke to medical staff at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London, and they agreed to the delay.
Ms Siddiq said: “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.”
There is a system in Parliament for MPs who cannot make a vote called “pairing” – where an MP on either side of an issue agree to not vote, so cancelling each other out.
However, Ms Siddiq said she did not trust the system. “If the pairing system is not honoured, there’s nothing I can do, and it’s going to be a very close vote,” said Ms Siddiq. “I’ve had no pressure at all from the whips to come and vote but this is the biggest vote of my lifetime.
“I’ve sat down with my husband Chris and he said to me this is my choice, but that he would support me.”