No Fun and Games: Danish Parliament Shows Lawmaker the Door for Bringing in Baby
08:07 GMT 08.10.2021 (Updated: 08:16 GMT 08.10.2021)
This is the second time in recent years when a Danish MP has been asked to leave the parliament after taking a baby along. By contrast, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was hailed for bringing her baby to the UN General Assembly, whereas an Icelandic MP made headlines for breastfeeding during a speech.
MP Pernille Skipper of the Red-Green Alliance, who brought her baby to Thursday's hearing, has been asked to leave the parliamentary chamber.
Following the incident, the Red-Green Alliance's former political spokeswoman refused to comment, but sarcastically described her “quiet, sleeping baby” as “the biggest headache” of Pia Kjærsgaard, who was Acting Speaker at the time, filling in for Henrik Dam Kristensen.
According to the newspaper Ekstra Bladet, Kjærsgaard asked Skipper to leave the room via two post-it notes which were passed on to her by an assistant. Kjærsgaard, the founder and former leader of the Danish People’s Party defended her decision and said that fellow MPs sided with her.
“We’ve just recently spoken about this in the presidium because several members of parliament have raised with us that Pernille Skipper has brought her baby with her on repeated occasions”, Kjærsgaard told the newspaper. “Everyone knows that you just don’t do that. So I’m surprised it was necessary to reaffirm this to her. Everyone knows about this,” she added.
Speaker Henrik Dam Kristensen said Kjærsgaard’s actions were legally justified.
“The presidium took in 2019 the decision that babies don’t belong in the parliament chamber. That decision has not been changed,” he said.
This is the second time in recent years when a Danish MP has been asked to leave parliament after taking their infant along to a debate. Incidentally, Pia Kjærsgaard was involved in both instances.
In March 2019, she ordered Conservative MP Mette Abildgaard to remove her infant daughter from the parliament’s chamber. This episode sparked an international debate and a bout of self-searching in a country that is hailed as a pioneer of women’s rights.
This also appears to go against the current internationally. In 2016, an Icelandic MP made headlines over breastfeeding her infant while speaking at the podium. The same year, New Zealandic Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was hailed for bringing her baby to the UN General Assembly.