WATCH: Jo Swinson on cheating pairs, adorable babies and the realities of working and breastfeeding

Here’s Jo Swinson’s speech in the debate on allowing proxy voting for MPs who have had babies.

It was one of the most real and honest speeches I’ve ever heard. Jo talked about her fury when Tory Chairman Brandon Lewis broke their pairing arrangement in July to vote in a key Brexit vote.

She also spoke about some of the appalling comments she got on Twitter after that, including the criticism that she had gone to the Trump demo for 45 minutes but couldn’t manage to vote in Parliament, something which would have meant hanging around for 5 hours.

Jo talked about the intricacies of establishing breastfeeding and how you need to concentrate on it during the early days. Her voice cracked with emotion as she talked about the difficulties she had establishing breastfeeding with her first son. I actually cried too as I remembered what it was like to be syringing expressed milk into my baby, 19 years on. She got there, though, with all the support that she needed.

She was also open about the realities of expressing milk several times a day. I think it’s fantastic that she posted a picture of her breast pump on Instagram the other day.

She talked about the need to have proper breastfeeding and expressing facilities for all nursing babies who work on the Parliamentary estate, recognising it was easier for her as she had her own office and control over her diary.

Do take 12 minutes out of your evening to watch the whole thing. I know it’s the night before Conference, but it is worth it.

It was also fabulous to see Gabriel make an appearance in the Commons. His big brother made history as the first baby to go through a voting lobby, carried by Jo’s husband Duncan Hames who was then MP for Chippenham. Gabriel was happy in his sling when Jo brought him into the Chamber.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Ruth Bright 13th Sep '18 - 9:52pm

    Thank you for covering this Caron when there is so much going on elsewhere! A groundbreaking and moving speech. It certainly made me cry too when Jo Swinson stumbled momentarily, and for the same reason – memories of a baby who wouldn’t feed for 24 hours and a saintly health visitor who (in the middle of the night) came up with a way of making the little critter do his duty!

    Spare a thought too for the PPCs in this party whose rights to baby leave has been ignored for far too long. This should be about candidates and councillors as well as MPs.

  • Richard Underhill 13th Sep '18 - 10:37pm

    Good luck Jo.

  • A wonderful photo of Jo cradling her baby in the Commons!

    I think we have found our next leader – already speaking more sense than most MPs, a member of the House of Commons (well almost)… Gabriel !!!

  • Sue Sutherland 14th Sep '18 - 12:43pm

    I am totally in awe of Jo and other new mums who are also MPs. I remember the time when I had my first baby especially, as a completely different world of exhaustion, anxiety, joy and overwhelming emotion. My 3 daughters have also experienced this more recently. We need women in Parliament so Parliament needs to change to accommodate them during this very special time.
    Carry on campaigning Jo.

  • Jayne Mansfield 14th Sep '18 - 7:04pm

    Good for her.

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