Fri, 3 February 2023

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Fresh blow for Boris Johnson as MPs reject bid for Tory party conference recess

Fresh blow for Boris Johnson as MPs reject bid for Tory party conference recess
2 min read

MPs have blocked an attempt by the the Government to force a three-day Commons recess to allow all Conservative MPs to attend the party's conference.

In yet another blow for Boris Johnson, Parliament voted by 306 to 289 to ensure the House will continue to sit as normal next week, when the annual gathering in Manchester takes place.

The vote marks the seventh straight defeat for the Prime Minister since coming to office just two months ago.

Parliament usually goes into recess during the three-week party conference season, but the timetable was thrown into chaos by the prorogation crisis.

It meant that while the Commons was not sitting when the Lib Dems and Labour were having their get-togethers, but this week's Supreme Court ruling that the suspension was unlawful meant that MPs returned to Westminster on Wednesday.

Behind-the-scenes talks between the Tories and Labour designed to allow the Conservative conference to be unaffected by the move fell through.

When asked about allowing the Tories' proposal Jeremy Corbyn told the BBC: "I don't see why Boris Johnson and his team should be able to run away from accountability yet again."

In an interview with The House magazine, Tory chairman James Cleverly said the party conference would go ahead as planned.

"It may well be that we MPs will have to do a bit of juggling, but the bottom line is conference is really really important," he said. "It’s an opportunity for the newest activists through to councillors, police and crime commissioners, mayors, MPs and others to all get together at the same time.

“I and everybody else will have to adapt to circumstances in Westminster, but the priority is to make sure that we get time to interact with our wider membership.”

Naomi Smith, chief executive of the anti-Brexit Best for Britain campaign, said: “Boris Johnson has lost yet another Commons vote. He truly is a record-breaking PM for all the wrong reasons.

"He and his government are treating this process as a game, when in reality lives are at stake. Our elected Parliament must be allowed to sit during this time of crisis.

"His language yesterday brought shame on the office of Prime Minister. Instead of trying to get more time off, he should apologise for his actions."

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