An MP On Maternity Leave Says The Tory Chair "Cheated" By Voting On Brexit by Buzzfeed

An MP at domestic with a 2-week-mature baby has accused the Tories of a “calculated, planned breaking of trust” after they broke a “pairing” deal not to vote on Brexit on Tuesday night.

Jo Swinson, a Liberal Democrat MP, had been told by government whips that she had been paired with Tory party chair Brandon Lewis – but opposite to the agreement, he voted on key amendments in the House of Commons.

Under the pairing system, the whips match up absent MPs of opposing sides to effectively cancel each other out. There is no formal maternity leave for MPs, so this is the only way unique mothers are able to compose certain the vote is just.

A Whitehall source told BuzzFeed News that it was an “honest mistake” by Lewis.

They pointed out that both Cat Smith and Laura Pidcock, two Labour MPs also on maternity leave, had been successfully paired by the government whips.

“We honoured the Labour pairs – this was an honest mistake,” the source said. “And of course it wouldn’t gain made any inequity to the result.”

But critics, including Swinson herself, were sceptical that it was a mistake – pointing out that while Lewis had abstained earlier in the day, he had voted in the two knife-edge divisions after 6pm.

Swinson accused the government of “cheating” and said it was time to achieve proper measures in spot to allow MPs on maternity leave to cast a proxy vote in the House of Commons.

Labour former acting leader Harriet Harman has proposed a unique system of “baby leave” for MPs – which would allow imminent or unique parents to appoint someone to cast their vote for them. But so far the plans gain been kicked into the long grass.

Shadow women’s minister Dawn Butler said the fact Lewis voted was “absolutely appalling” and called on him to apologise.

Tory MP Sarah Wollaston also demanded answers, saying the tactics “disrespect women”.

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