The independent London newspaper

Tulip Siddiq says second referendum is way out of Brexit chaos

Hampstead and Kilburn votes in car park ahead of birth of baby son

17 January, 2019 — By Richard Osley

Tulip Siddiq voting in a wheelchair on Tuesday

HAMPSTEAD and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq said last night (Wednesday) that a second referendum was just as important as Labour’s call for a new general election to solve the Brexit crisis.

The 36-year-old is due to give birth to a son in hospital today (Thursday) after delaying a planned Caesarian birth to ensure she could vote against prime minister Theresa May’s EU withdrawal deal.

Helped through the House of Commons in a wheelchair, Ms Siddiq was approached by Ms May herself, who offered her support to help her vote without being in the building in the future.

Yesterday (Wednesday), Ms Siddiq called again for proxy voting to be allowed, as she was forced to return to take part in the vote of no confidence Jeremy Corbyn had called on the government.

Ms Siddiq said: “This time they allowed me to be nodded through, but this still involved having to be driven from my home in Kilburn to the Houses of Parliament. The Labour and Tory whips come to the car and check you are still alive, just by looking at you through the window. You are saved having to go up in the lift and into the building but it’s still asking a woman – the day before she gives birth – to come in.”

She added: “I know that there are more pressing issues in the world: Brexit, poverty, but I’m just trying to do my job. It’s worth remembering there is no maternity leave, or no baby leave as they call it.”

Ms Siddiq said she had not trusted the “pairing” system after it broke down last year when Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson was not properly matched up.

“If the pairing had been broken down, I’d have gone down in history as not having taken part in the biggest vote of my life,” said Ms Siddiq. “To be fair to her, the Prime Minister came over to me – after the biggest loss of her political life – and spoke to me. She said she was disappointed to see me here when she thought I should be resting, and gave me her personal guarantee that pairing would be honoured for future votes.”

Tulip Siddiq was ‘nodded through’ in the back of the taxi

She added: “I’ve had gestational diabetes during this pregnancy and I said to her that I was impressed with how she managed her own diabetes at the same time as having to be prime minister.”

Ms Siddiq said: “Her defeat in the vote, however, was catastrophic for her. I have always said that we need a People’s Vote, a second referendum, and that’s just as important as calling for a general election. Of course, I want a general election. The country needs a Labour government, but I think people deserve a second vote.”

Ms Siddiq is expecting her second child – a son – today, having given birth to her daughter Azalea in 2016.

Holborn and St Pancras MP Sir Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, said earlier in the week that the government should be considering options that could include a second referendum.

“We can’t have no deal and therefore we need to find a majority for something else,” he said. “Our party conference set out the option of a public vote, a second referendum, and obviously that has got to be discussed.”


Share this story

Post a comment