As Parliament enters Christmas recess, at a time when many feel like the country is in turmoil, we’ve asked both Bedford Borough MPs if they’d be happy to spend more time at work to get things done.
While there may not be debates in either house the Government Recess is not simply time-off for MPs. House staff, security and other government employees will be on different work schedule so they can spend time at home over the Christmas period.
Changing that would prevent them from having a Christmas break and also add extra cost to the public purse, not least of all as they’d need to get staff and MPs to and from places much further away than Bedford.
Taking bank holidays into account, cancelling the recess would add an extra six days onto MPs work schedule. But, as MP for North East Bedfordshire, Alistair Burt (Con), explains, while MPs may be on recess many will be still working behind the scenes: “Ministers and others do not just lock up the office and stop for the period.
“If you want six more days for the House itself to discuss it (Brexit) then I guess it might be worthwhile, but the process of Government doesn’t stop – so actually giving people some time to process information and talk to others might just be rather more helpful.”
However, Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin (Lab), believes that extra, more public, Government work would be particularly beneficial during these unprecedented times: “If this Government were serious about getting the best deal for Britain then of course they would be extending Parliamentary time into the planned recess.
“They could then use that time to hear representations from MPs and come up with a better plan, but instead Theresa May is running scared of a vote on her deal and is trying to minimise debate. I have no real confidence that the Tories would use the time wisely if we did return early.”