Page last updated at 20:51 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Parliament to get first nursery

A bar on the Parliamentary estate is to be converted to a nursery

Parliament is to get its first nursery as part of efforts to get more parents to stand as MPs, Speaker John Bercow has said.

It will take up to 40 children of MPs, staff and Westminster pass holders who will be charged at market rates.

But the £400,000 cost of converting a bar on the Parliamentary estate will be footed by the taxpayer.

Mr Bercow said Parliament had "sadly been behind the times" in supporting MPs who are parents.

"If Parliament is to be truly representative of the community it serves then it must do more to encourage parents to stand as MPs.

"Many other parliaments around the world provide nursery facilities for members and staff. It is time one of the oldest parliaments in the world caught up with the rest."

Bellamy's Bar in the 1 Parliament Street building is to be converted into the nursery, which is expected to be open by next summer.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the project was intended to be "cash neutral" and eventually run at a profit.

There are already 120 MPs who have announced they will be stepping down at the next election - which must be called by June 2010 - and many of the new intake are expected to have young children.

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