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International News

Jan 29, 2019
6:35PM

British MPs back baby leave proxy voting

Representational pic
British lawmakers have approved a year-long trial of proxy voting for MPs on parental leave.
 
MPs have been discussing the idea for several months but matters came to a head when one of their numbers postponed a Caesarian section in order to vote in Britain's long-running Brexit saga.

The motion was passed late Monday. It will allow new parents to nominate a colleague to vote on their behalf.

Currently, MPs walk through two lobbies to cast their vote, effectively being counted in person.

If members cannot get to parliament to vote, they can pair up with an MP from the opposing side who likewise does not vote, so the overall outcome is unaffected.

As a last resort, a system is known as "nodding through" allows an MP's vote to be counted if they are on the parliamentary estate but cannot physically walk through the lobbies.

In the past, this has seen MPs vote by being driven through the estate in an ambulance.

Opposition Labour MP Tulip Siddiq postponed the birth of her son Raphael by Caesarean section so she could be wheeled into the chamber to vote on Brexit earlier this month.
 she hoped that she would be the first MP to vote by proxy in today's crunch votes on Britain's Brexit strategy.
   
The vote marks a baby step in the right direction in bringing parliament into the 21st century.

The new proxy vote trial will also apply to MPs who have suffered a miscarriage. 

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