MPs decide to take ANOTHER two week break: Parliament"s only been back for 10 days since their last fortnight off

MPs decide to take ANOTHER two week break: Parliament’s only been back for 10 days since their last fortnight off
Commons will not sit again until Queen's Speech on May 8MPs will be in Westminster for eight days before 10-day Whitsun holiday
For first 150 days of 2013, Commons will convene just 64 times

By
Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor

PUBLISHED:

09:32 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:37 GMT, 26 April 2013

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MPs have ignored warnings that they risk looking lazy and today begin another two-week holiday.

The latest break comes just days since the Commons' two and a half week Easter recess.

They will return on May 8 for the Queen’s Speech, but only spend eight days in Westminster before heading off again for a 10-day Whitsun get-away.

Empty benches: The latest holiday for MPs means they have spent less than half of 2013 so far in the House of Commons

Empty benches: The latest holiday for MPs means they have spent less than half of 2013 so far in the House of Commons

It means that in the first 150 days of 2013, the Commons will have been convened just 64 times.

The revelation that MPs have met in the Westminster for less than every other day would appear to contradict assertions from senior ministers including David Cameron and William Hague that Britons must work harder to get the country back on its feet.

The latest holiday sparked accusations that the government had run out of ideas and legislation was being rushed through without being properly scrutinised.

David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions

Ed Miliband at Prime Minister's Questions

The frequent holidays means David Cameron and Ed Miliband have gone head-to-head at Prime Minister's Questions just twice in 12 weeks

Earlier this month Margaret Hodge, the
Labour MP who chairs Westminster’s spending watchdog, warned the public
think politicians are lazy and provide poor value for money.

'We are living through the worst
economic crisis in modern times. MPs have a lot to do and yet we are
spending much of our time in recess,’ she said.

'Members of the public would be
forgiven for thinking that it is MPs who are lazy and that it is
Parliament that is failing to provide good value for money.

Labour's Margaret Hodge has warned that the public think MPs are lazy

Labour's Margaret Hodge has warned that the public think MPs are lazy

'We are not spending enough time in Westminster, and this creates a democratic vacuum.'

Today the Commons begins a 12-day break triggered by prorogation – the gap between one session of Parliament and the next.

Traditionally
Parliament has only broken up for a few days to prepare for the Queen’s
Speech, which sets out new laws planned for the new session.

But the long and frequent holidays means
David Cameron has missed several sessions of Prime Minister’s
Questions. There were just two in the last 12 weeks.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said: ‘It’s ridiculous that Parliament has shut up shop again when so many of its debates get curtailed by strict timetables and important bills have been rushed through.

‘The amount of time that the Commons spends in recess should be a huge cause for concern as it prevents MPs from properly scrutinising the Government for big chunks of the year.

‘With this latest break so close to the local elections, many taxpayers will be left wondering whether it is more about freeing up time for the politicians go out knocking on doors in support of their political friends rather than getting down to work in their constituencies.’

Labour MP Dave Anderson said: ‘We are going to be on holiday for another two weeks when we could have been discussing really serious things.’

Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West, added: ‘The Government has clearly run out of ideas.’