Thursday 8 August 2019 4:13 am

Is it irresponsible for parliament to be on recess at such a crucial time?

Is it irresponsible for parliament to be on recess at such a crucial time?

Dr Stuart Thomson, head of public affairs at BDB Pitmans, says YES.

With a hard no-deal Brexit looming, now is not the time for a parliamentary break. There is too much to do, but only if the government allows it.

Allowing MPs and peers to have their usual long summer break, sends entirely the wrong signal to the public and contributes to further resentment.

The government could have insisted that parliament sat, but letting MPs go enables it to be in sole charge of the Brexit process for a few weeks. There is no scrutiny of the new Prime Minister or his new ministers; no one to hold them to account; no questions being asked. Parliament is being dismissed as an irrelevance by the government.

Instead, we’ve been subjected to a series of set-piece media announcements from ministers about Brexit which come under no sustained scrutiny.

This is irresponsible – not of parliament itself, but of the government. But it also suits the new team’s apparent electoral strategy.

The situation is being lined up to blame parliament if Brexit doesn’t happen at the end of October, not the Prime Minister.

John Oxley, a Conservative commentator, says NO.

Nothing has changed, as Theresa May would say. The options are clear: a deal, no deal, delay it, defeat it.

There is little that parliament can do in the next six weeks to change that. Were it not in recess, we would instead be subjected to ineffectual and onanistic displays from all sides, continuing the procedural tricks employed to force the issue one way or another.

Far better to take a break from the Commons. Recess is not a holiday, but a chance to refocus. For the new executive, it is time to talk again to the EU, while backbenchers can break out of their bubble and get onto the doorstep in their constituencies.

After a month and a half away from their co-conspirators, opinions may move a little. Faced with the whole spectrum of public opinion, and the ordinary people who have to deal with the outcomes, they may find the perspective which delivers a pragmatic result for the benefit of the country.

To take back control, they need to leave.

Main image credit: Getty

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