Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Thursday, 10 November 2011

Labour makes case against Commons recess

Labour has questioned whether it is right for Parliament to follow through with its plans for a recess next week in light of the "worsening economic and political situation in Europe".

The Commons will rise on Tuesday next week and the House of Lords rises on Wednesday.

During exchanges on future Commons business on 10 November 2011, shadow leader of the House Angela Eagle asked: "With no government in Greece and contagion spreading to Italy, does the leader of the House think it is right for Parliament to take a break just as we're facing the biggest economic crisis in our lifetimes?"

Ms Eagle pointed out that the Commons had been recalled the day after it rose for summer to debate the phone hacking scandal and again in July after the England riots.

She pressed Commons Leader Sir George Young on whether he had "contingency plans" in place to summon MPs from their constituencies to debate Europe's woes.

Sir George said the discussion on the recess had taken place through the "usual channels" and reminded her that the House had voted on the matter.

Tory Eurosceptic Peter Bone asked whether Parliament would be recalled if the euro were to collapse next week, so MPs could debate the "joyful occasion".

Sir George told him: "The House normally requires two days notice to be recalled and we are only not sitting for two days so I am not sure I can respond positively."

Later, Labour's Ian Austin claimed the real reason the House wouldn't be sitting next Wednesday was because David Cameron wanted to avoid prime minister's questions on the day the new unemployment figures came out.

Defending the prime minister, Sir George told MPs Mr Austin was "obsessed by some conspiracy theory".

"I think the person who will be most relieved there is not a session next Wednesday is actually the leader of the opposition," he quipped.

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