Charlotte Street Partners



Mother of the House

Written by Adam Shaw, associate partner
Edited by Kevin Pringle, partner

24 November 2021

Good morning,

Yesterday evening, Labour MP Stella Creasy sought clarification from Commons authorities after she was reprimanded for having her three-month-old son in a sling as she spoke in parliament. Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, was leading a debate about buy-now-pay-later consumer credit schemes on Tuesday afternoon in Westminster Hall, a subsidiary chamber where MPs can raise issues of interest to them. She subsequently received an email from the office of one of the deputy speakers, pointing out the latest edition of the ‘Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House of Commons’ which states: “You may take babies or toddlers with you into the division lobby, and – if necessary to get to the division lobby – take them through the Chamber. For safety reasons, you are asked to carry your child and not to bring pushchairs through the lobby. You should not take your seat in the Chamber when accompanied by your child, nor stand at either end of the Chamber, between divisions.” It was a strange rebuke. This is not the first time Creasy has taken her child into the Commons, and former Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson made headlines for having her child in the chamber back in 2018. Furthermore, Creasy’s fellow Labour MP, Alex Davies-Jones, tweeted to say that she had been assured by the speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, that she would be able to breastfeed her child in the chamber or Westminster Hall if the need arose. Of course, there’s more to this than just inconsistency. It’s part of the wider issue around ensuring parliament is accessible to a broad spectrum of MPs and improving diversity among those we elect to represent us, particularly when there are no set rules or benefits around parental leave. As the father of a five-month-old I’m perhaps more attuned to the issue than I was, but it hasn’t altered my overall view. After all, it only takes a modicum of enlightenment to realise that it’s in all our interests to ensure that parenting and politics can mix. There are already plenty of obstacles to being an elected representative. Let’s not add another one.


Scotland’s vaccine passport system will not be extended to more venues, it was announced yesterday. Addressing the Scottish parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the Scottish government had been considering expanding the scheme to cover cinemas, theatres and other hospitality venues, but the decision had been made that it would not be proportionate to do so at this time. Just five per cent of Windrush victims have received the compensation they are owed, more than four years after the scandal broke, according to a report by the Home Affairs Select Committee. The committee has called for the scheme, for which more than 15,000 people were expected to qualify, to be taken out of Home Office control. Those who kill emergency workers while committing a criminal act in England and Wales will be handed mandatory life sentences following a campaign by the widow of PC Andrew Harper, who died while responding to an emergency call in 2019 when he was dragged for more than a mile by a car driven by three teenagers. The UK government has confirmed that Harper’s Law will go on to the statute book via an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. (£)

Business and economy

London’s stock market has attracted its first special purpose acquisition company since listing rules were overhauled in order to compete with Wall Street as a destination for ‘blank cheque’ companies. Hambro Perks, the venture capital firm, will seek to raise up to £150m for an acquisition vehicle through listing in London. Dominic Perks, chief executive of Hambro Perks, told the Financial Times that changes to the Spac regime had been “crucial” in bringing the company to the UK market. (£) Stuart Rose, the former Marks & Spencer boss, has been appointed the chairman of Asda as the supermarket undertakes a search for a new chief executive. Rose has been hired by owners Mohsin and Zuber Issa following the sudden exit of Roger Burnley as chief executive in August. He is already chairman of EG Group, the Issa brothers’ petrol station and store business. (£) The president of the CBI is to call on the prime minister to “stop hiking taxes and focus on boosting investment”. In his speech to the CBI conference, which Boris Johnson addressed on Monday, Lord Bilimoria will cite policies such as plans to increase corporation tax and national insurance when he says: “The government have said they want a high-wage, high-growth, high-investment, high-productivity economy. Business agrees. But right now, we are facing a high-tax economy.”

Columns of note

In the New StatesmanAilbhe Rea offers her account of the time, she alleges, that Stanley Johnson touched her inappropriately, and what has happened since she spoke out in support of Caroline Nokes, who made a similar accusation against Johnson. Writing in The TimesDaniel Finkelstein argues that calls for changes in the way 10 Downing Street is organised and for the cabinet to be more assertive following a rough few weeks for Boris Johnson are misplaced. People are who they are and don’t change, Finkelstein asserts, and the Tories must accept the rough and the smooth with Johnson. (£)


What happened yesterday?

Global stocks were in a mixed state on Tuesday as investors digested Jay Powell’s nomination for a second term as chair of the US Federal Reserve, surging coronavirus cases in Europe, and a White House announcement that 50 million barrels of oil would be released from the US strategic stockpile in a bid to drive down fuel prices. The latter of these developments has not had the desired effect thus far. At the end of the European day, Brent Crude was up 3.04% at $82.12 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate had climbed 2.33% to $78.54. The FTSE 100 ended the session up 0.15% at 7,266.69, while the FTSE 250 fell 0.89% to 23,221.61. Compass Group, the world’s biggest catering firm, was the biggest riser on the main index, climbing 5.64% after reinstating its dividend earlier than expected due to strong cash flow and record new business wins. In its annual results, the company said that it had made a strong recovery from the pandemic after achieving almost 90% of pre-Covid revenues by the final quarter. Energy stocks also made gains thanks to the aforementioned rise in oil prices, while housebuilder Barratt Developments jumped 2.45% after analysts at Berenberg upgraded its shares from ‘hold’ to ‘buy’. Utility Warehouse owner Telecom Plus was the FTSE 250’s best performer, soaring 15.59% despite adjusted profits. However, changes in the UK’s energy landscape due to the sharp increase in wholesale gas prices have benefitted the company, which saw a net increase of more than 15,000 new customers in October alone. Pets at Home also had a good day, with the retailer gaining 5.54% after it backed its full-year profit guidance and posted a jump in interim profit and revenue, driven by a rise in pet ownership. Propping up the FTSE 250 was online electrical retailer AO World, which tumbled 14.35% after it warned that supply chain issues and higher costs would hit full-year earnings and revenue. At the time of writing, sterling had fallen 0.12% against the dollar to $1.338 and was 0.24% lower against the euro at €1.1891.

What’s happening today?

Brewin DolphinVirgin Money UKDiploma

Interim Results
United Utilities

Trading announcements

Source: Financial Times

did you know

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino was discovered by Hoffenheim, the club where he made his name, thanks to the computer game Football Manager. After seeing the potential of the in-game Firmino, Hoffenheim director of football Lutz Pfannenstiel moved to tie up a deal in real life, and the young Brazilian was bought for around £3.5m in 2011. He was sold to Liverpool for £30m in 2015.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

Oral questions: Women and Equalities (including Topical Questions) Prime Minister’s Question Time Ten Minute Rule Motion: Social Media Platforms (Identity Verification) Legislation: Commercial Rent (Coronavirus): Second Reading

House of Lords 

Oral questions Preventing the takeover of NHS surgeries in the UK by American health insurance companiesCompliance with money laundering regulations by banks in the UK and steps taken by the Financial Conduct Authority to prevent money launderingIntroducing rules on smoke-free pavements outside pubs and restaurantsCriteria for the appointment of the next chair of Ofcom Legislation: Police, Crime and Sentencing and Courts Bill – committee stage (day 11)

Scottish parliament 

Portfolio Questions: Health and Social Care; Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Stage 1 Debate: Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill Financial Resolution: Transvaginal Mesh Removal (Cost Reimbursement) (Scotland) Bill

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