Parliament is in recess – or on holiday as many call it. It’s ridiculous that Parliament won’t now sit till October 12 th .
This was exactly the wrong decision, especially after the MPs’ expenses scandal. MPs need to rebuild voters’ trust, not slap them in the face with an 82 day recess.
Some argue it makes no real difference anyway - and others go further, saying it might be a good thing if it means fewer laws and regulations are passed.
Yet both these arguments miss the point: Government continues without Parliament – and the whole point of Parliament is to hold Government to account for its decisions. With Parliament in recess that’s more difficult.
When our troops are fighting in Afghanistan, when the economy is in a mess and when our health service is struggling with problems like swine flu, it’s simply wrong that Ministers won’t face MPs’ questions for 12 weeks.
Some MPs attempt to defend the indefensible arguing they will still be working most of the recess – answering correspondence, meeting constituents and visiting groups across their constituency.
Well, of course they should! The recess is a good time for constituency work, but it’s far too long, letting Gordon Brown off the hook.
For my part, I believe the summer recess could be cut in half: six weeks is sufficient to catch up on work locally and for a family holiday.
Gordon Brown may have run out of ideas and may privately realise he’s already lost the next election. Yet that’s no excuse for hiding from MPs’ questioning.
(Written during my two week family holiday in Dorset)