Commons February recess cancelled in push for Brexit deal breakthrough
The House of Commons February recess has been cancelled to give MPs more time to try and agree a late Brexit deal.
Parliament was due to rise from 14 till 25 February, but Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said that was being ditched due to the “unique” circumstances thrown up by the ongoing Brexit deadlock.
Theresa May has pledged to return to Parliament with an update on the negotiations with Brussels within two weeks, teeing up the possibility of a fresh meaningful vote that week.
MPs also have six Brexit-related bills to pass, as well as hundreds of minor pieces of legislation known as statutory instruments, before the UK's scheduled departure on 29 March.
Announcing the move in the Commons, Ms Leadsom said: "I realise that this is short notice for colleagues and House staff, but I do think our constituents will expect that the House is able to continue to make progress at this important time.
"I will endeavour to provide confirmation of the sitting arrangements and business for February as soon as possible. I am very sorry for the inconvenience to colleagues, House staff and their families.
"Where House staff are concerned, conversations are underway to ensure that disruption is limited and no one is out of pocket, and where members have family, ministerial or constituency commitments, the usual channels will work hard with members to limit the inconvenience."
Shadow Leader of the House Valerie Vaz criticised the lack of support on offer for MPs whose children will need to be looked after during the coinciding school holidays.
"Is this the business, staggering from one week to the next?" she jibed.
"I cannot possibly imagine what honourable members are going through with this announcement...
"It can't be right that honourable members have to support their children in that way without the Government stepping in providing proper provision for it."
The SNP's Pete Wishart said the decision would “go down like a bucket of sick" for MPs who had planned holidays during that period.
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