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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May, 2005, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
MPs' bumper 80-day summer break
Big Ben
MPs will get a longer summer break this year
MPs are to have an 80-day summer break from the House of Commons.

Commons leader Geoff Hoon said the House will rise on 21 July - and not return until 10 October, after the party conference season.

That means the recess begins a week earlier than expected - and does not include the short sitting in September introduced in recent years.

Ex-Foreign Office minister Chris Mullin said he was disappointed the Commons was reverting to such a long break.

No decision for 2006

He said: "Nothing so much brings us into discredit with our constituents as the idea that we take - which is false in many cases I know - two-and-a-half months off in the summer."

The reason given for the two-week September sitting being cancelled is so a new security screen can be fitted in the Commons.

Mr Mullin said the shortened break should be reintroduced in 2006 to which Mr Hoon replied just because the recess was extended this year did not mean any decision had been made about the future.

MPs facing criticism about the length of time they have off from Parliament point out that in many cases they spend much of recesses carrying out work in their constituencies.

Your comments

Let's not complain, we elected them knowing the perks they get! Not voting is not going to work, perhaps if the powers that be had a box with the option "I don't trust any of the above with my country's and my future", then I suppose we would get a true picture of the disillusioned population in our country. It's a career, they're in it for the money and not like accountability. There isn't another job like it, campaign, get elected, you're made for the next few years, make the right noise again and the cycle continues!
Vincent Shaji, London

Most MPs work 14 hour days, in recess they are in their constituencies sorting out local issues which they would not get time for when Commons is sitting. They work far longer hours than many people and have far more pressure.
Luke, Basildon, Essex

Now that 70% of our legislation comes from Brussels let's have fewer MPs
David, Leeds UK
Now that 70% of our legislation comes from Brussels let's have fewer MPs. There should be a total of 500 MPs. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should each have half their current number to reflect the changes brought about by devolution, and the balance should be English MPs. Will turkeys ever vote for Christmas? Fat chance!
David, Leeds UK

Parliamentary scrutiny of government actions isn't much to be proud of at the best of times, but this means that for almost three months there will be no Parliamentary scrutiny whatsoever. No wonder the government are keen on the idea.
Jonathan Burrard, London UK

Why should MPs get 80 days summer holiday? I cannot believe that the majority of them spend 2 weeks of this on holiday and the rest on "constituency" work. Mike of Doncaster hits the nail on the head. About time they lived in the real world like the rest of us. Likewise, why didn't I get a 40% pay rise? Why did MPs deserve this? It's our taxes that pay their salaries, so about time we took a stand against all these gravy-trainers!
Suzanne Phillips, Rhondda, Wales

Well what to you expect from an organization that tells us we have to work harder and longer for less so they can enjoy the life style we allow them to have. They get more holidays then anyone else. They don't have a contract of employment. Their benefits package is one of the best in the land, if we sack any of them they get a year salary TAX free. All you have to do is take a look at the last 100 hundred year of politics in this country because the next 100 hundred years won't be much different, the names and the faces change but the politics stay the same. They'll tweak it here and their but your grandchildren will still spend a life time of work making the rich even richer and die with little to show for it. That is the system we as a nation have allowed to rule our lives.
Robert Young, Leeds UK

We too have had building work done on our usual place of work. Rather than give us more time off, my employer moved us to a different building. But that seems too obvious....
Steve Phillips, York

Personally I'm disgusted by this. I work hard in my day job and run a small business in my spare time, get paid a lot less than an MP and only get 25 days holiday a year, which I lose if I don't take them within a specific time frame! How can MP's justify this break? The Nation and its problems don't take a 2.5 month break, why should MPs get one?
Iain Hicken, Swindon, UK

Good grief! Where should I begin (and not write an essay)? 80 days? That's around a fifth of the whole year... Or nearly three months in one go. It's not as if they don't get holidays at other times. How much holiday do these people get? Value for money? I don't think so.
Paul Parkinson, Sidcup, Kent

I appreciate the view that our MP's do not have it as easy as some suggest, indeed their schedule is very vigorous. But surely an 80 day break from Parliament is far too long. It must really get to those who are being told they will have to work past the standard age of retirement by this present government. And for Mr Hoon to suggest that the reason for not returning for a September short sitting, because they are fitting a security screen is farcical. Surely they could fit it in August.
Lee Guest, Wolverhampton

Come on, MPs work hard for all of us. They deserve a nice long break. It's a tough job that I doubt any of us minions could do.
Michael Shane, London, UK

This can only be bad for democracy
Sunil Joshi, Cambridge, UK
MPs should work at Westminster for more of the year. The Government always complains it doesn't have enough time to introduce all the legislation the country needs. This is a way of adding more. Also, the fact that the government can govern for such long periods without parliament being there makes it less accountable. No PMQs, no questions, no debates, no protests. This can only be bad for democracy
Sunil Joshi, Cambridge, UK

What people won't realise is all of the work that goes on in the constituencies which never ends. It's alright suggesting MPs are getting an 80 days holiday - but it's just not true. From having helped an MP its very clear that the vast majority are hard working and are on call 365 days a year.
Jonathan Sheppard, Chesterfield

As we are paying them though our taxes we have a right to know what they are doing. I'm sure the conscientious amongst them will use the opportunity wisely. But if they were made accountable and published their work dairies on line, (the vast majority have their own websites,) then we will know exactly what they are up to.
Ray, Birmingham

MPs have extremely important work to do in the constituency all year round, and the summer gives them a chance to catch up with that. Having worked for several MPs, I haven't met one yet who takes more than two weeks off in the summer. In fact, many of them have to be coerced into taking time off! To say that MPs get paid too much and do too little quite obviously indicates a total lack of understanding of what the job entails. Stop reading the tabloids and pay attention to what really goes on.
Cerys, Cardiff, Wales

Sam Ellis comments that it will be an excellent opportunity for MPs to get in touch with local issues and people. I am sure most of the candidates were telling us a few weeks ago just how in touch they were with the local people and issues. No, the extended holiday is to ensure that there is less time in Parliament for scrutiny of the legislation they propose. Listen out for more guillotine motions later in the Parliament.
Eddie Riddick, Cheshunt Herts

Yet another example of don't do as we do, do as you are told! MPs have regularly increased their own pay at at a rate higher than inflation while telling everyone else of the need for restraint, they ensure they have ample pension provision, but tell the country that the current situation cannot go on, now they take 16 weeks off in the summer, and we are meant to believe they will be working during most of it. Hold on I've just seen some pigs coming in to land, and they wonder why people don't bother to vote anymore!
Geoff Evans, Brecon, Wales

No wonder so little gets done. When The House of Commons sits, hardly anyone attends. If anybody else was as absent as much these MPs, they'd be sacked!
Gary, Aylesbury,UK

Not all of the work MPs do is confined to the Commons by any means, so I don't mind that they are not there as such. However, with such long breaks it would be nice if, when they are there, they spent more time doing something useful and less time of the toadying, point-scoring and general yah boo politics that they seem to like to indulge in.
Stephanie Clarke, Cambridge, UK

I think I'll tell my boss that I won't be in between the end of July and the beginning of October - but I will be working! Do you think I would get away with it?
Stuart Singleton-White, Reading, UK

It's what I've come to expect from politicians - do as we say and not as we do! Parasites the lot of them.
D, Surrey

I wonder if there will be an inverse relationship between how much time our highly paid MPs spend at work and how much our Council Tax will go up in 2007?
Tim, Newcastle, UK

This is in keeping with the 40% pay rise MPs gave themselves recently. The only time I heard from my MP in the last parliament was to say that he had helped to ban hunting. I live in an inner city seat. Nothing about reducing crime or unemployment. In my view, they don't care, they are just all careerists.
Adam, Manchester, UK

Don't we always hear that there is 'not enough time in this parliamentary session to push through the necessary legislation'
Mike McKenna, Doncaster
Just a minute, don't we always hear that there is 'not enough time in this parliamentary session to push through the necessary legislation' I have no particular political leaning but this just reinforces my view that the whole lot are just in in for themselves. Let's give them 20 days holiday a year, take away there final salary pensions, first class travel arrangements, health schemes and the rest and see just how many really are in it 'for the good of the people'.
Mike McKenna, Doncaster

Just because the MPs have time off in the summer away from London does not mean they are not working. I think the break is a fantastic time for the MPs to get about in their local areas and get in touch with the people they represent, and not just waste away on the green benchers!
Sam Ellis, Retford, Notts, UK

Well, they can always use the time to see how the real people live whilst taking up their highly paid outside interests along with their overpaid MP's salary and allowances. No wonder there is no shortage of potential candidates. I wish I could take an 80 day paid holiday, but then I have a real job.
Anthony Parker, Burntwood, England

When you consider that 60 to 70% of our legislation is now made in Brussels, MPs should only be working for 3 to 4 months of the year!
Joe Moran, Liverpool UK

Nice work if you can get it
Ian, UK

It must be nice to have a job where the pay is good and the work is voluntary.
Brendan, Weymouth

I am actually in favour of the longer summer break
Anthony, London

I am actually in favour of the longer summer break. I think that it is important that MPs spend time in their constituencies as well as in Westminster, and the break gives them the opportunity to do that. If we feel our local MP has not been sufficiently active, we can vote him/her out at the next election, but surely the possibility for local activism and representation should not be removed?
Anthony, London

It's a disaster - hardworking MPs will be our in the constituencies but it gives the lazy an excuse to go to the Caribbean for a month or more. MPs should have normal hours and normal holidays so they can understand normal people better.
Cassandra, Westminster UK

An 80 day summer break? Is that to go with the ludicrously high claims for expenses that MPs are known to make. I can understand a summer break but come on, 80 days is more than most students get, never mind the policy makers for the country!
Matt Brown, Livingston, West Lothian

Commons hours face new review
08 Jan 04 |  UK Politics
MPs back Commons reforms
30 Oct 02 |  Politics


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