Urgent question on maternity leave and proxy voting: 18 July 2018

18 July 2018

Alistair Carmichael, the Chief Whip for the Liberal Democrats, asked an urgent question on 18 July 2018 on maternity leave for MPs and proxy voting.

This followed an incident the previous evening during voting on the Trade Bill in which the cabinet minister Brandon Lewis voted twice despite a pairing arrangement with the Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Jo Swinson, who recently gave birth.

Pairing is an informal arrangement between two MPs of opposing parties to not vote in a particular division, enabling an MP to be absent without affecting the result of the vote.

Responding on behalf of the Government, the Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom told the House, "I am assured by the Chief Whip that the breaking of the pair yesterday was done entirely in error and will not be repeated". She also said that she is planning to ensure that the House can vote on the potential introduction of proxy voting after the summer recess.

Transcripts of proceedings in the House of Commons Chamber are available in Hansard online three hours after they happen.

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