Parliament: MPs reject recess for Tory conference

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MPs have rejected the government’s request for a three-day recess while the Conservatives stage their annual party conference.

It is the seventh vote the government has lost out of eight held in the Commons since Boris Johnson became PM.

MPs voted 306 to 289 to reject the motion asking for the Commons to adjourn until Thursday next week.

The PM’s spokesman said Mr Johnson was “disappointed” with the result but conference “will go ahead as planned”.

The Conservative Party conference is due to be held in Manchester from Sunday to Wednesday.

There will be a political cabinet at 17:00 BST, the spokesman added.

Live: MPs vote not to hold recess for Tory conference
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have already held their annual party conferences while Parliament was suspended – which the Supreme Court has since ruled was unlawful and MPs returned on Wednesday.

Following the MPs’ vote, Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg announced the business for the House when it sits next week, including a debate on the Domestic Abuse Bill, which has cross-party support, on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to give his keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference on Wednesday, but that will now clash with Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons.

Mr Rees-Mogg told MPs he assumed the prime minister would “make his normal appearance” in the Commons.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said he was “pleased” MPs had voted against a conference recess.

“We have only just resumed sitting after being unlawfully dismissed by Boris Johnson,” he tweeted. “Now was not the time to grant the government additional time to sit on its hands and avoid scrutiny.”

Mr Johnson has been urged to apologise after he said the best way to honour Jo Cox, the Labour MP murdered during the 2016 EU referendum campaign, was to get “Brexit done” in the Commons on Wednesday.

He was also criticised for calling the law aimed at blocking a no-deal Brexit the “surrender bill”.

‘Held to account’
Independent MP Nick Boles, formerly a Conservative, said he had planned to abstain on the recess vote but decided to oppose the government, tweeting: “After the PM’s behaviour yesterday I think it is crucial that he be held to account at PMQs next Wednesday.”

Nine other former Conservative MPs also voted against holding a parliamentary break including former ministers David Gauke, Justine Greening and Amber Rudd.

Labour and Co-op MP for Manchester Central Lucy Powell said she voted against the government motion “with a very heavy heart”.

“I want their full conference to proceed, both for [the] Manchester economy and because it’s part of our democracy,” she said.

“But compromise offers were made… and I think PMQs next week needs to happen.”

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