Sussex MPs defend extra break from Parliament

Norman Baker

Simon Kirby

Caroline Lucas

First published in News
Last updated
by , local government reporter

MPs in Brighton and Hove have defended Government proposals that could give them another week away from Westminster this year.

If plans for an extra break go through it would mean that Members of Parliament will only be required to sit in the Commons for 140 days, or 28 weeks, this year, with 24 weeks’ parliamentary recess.

That compares to an average employee working 252 days – taking into account bank holidays – and being entitled to, on average, just five weeks of holiday a year.

It also compares to an average of 195 days of work a year for teachers, and is more than the 27 days of holiday a year offered to nurses.

But the MPs defended the plans and said just because they would not be required to sit in Parliament, it didn’t mean they would not be carrying out constituency work instead.

“It’s wrong to come to the conclusion that any time spent away from Parliament is time off,” said Lib Dem Lewes MP Norman Baker.

“For me personally, time away from London is an opportunity to work on constituency matters, talking to locals and dealing with casework.

“Being an MP is very much a full-time job and I cannot remember when I last had a week off.”

According to some figures, by the middle of last year MPs and peers had spent 284 hours in Westminster debating Government business.

This latest news comes months after it was reported that MPs could be in line for an 11% pay rise next year, taking their salary to £74,000 a year.

Reiterating that time away from Westminster did not necessarily mean he was on holiday, Conservative MP Simon Kirby said: “Parliament is only part of my job and actually I’d rather be in the constituency working hard for local people.

“I get very few holidays and I still get calls on those holidays.”

He added: “It makes no difference to me, and if anything, I work harder when I’m in Brighton than in Westminster.”

The Member of Parliament for Brighton Kemptown also denied the reason the extra holiday had been offered was because the Government wasn’t producing enough legislation for them to debate and vote on.

“We’ve got Bills coming out to vote on and there are important things happening,” he added.

Comments (10)

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9:39am Tue 11 Mar 14

Tailgaters Anonymous says...

Well I can only speak for what I have observed Norman Baker's involvement and responses over the years and have no concerns as to how much time he and fellow MPs sit in Parliament compared to work done for his constituency.
Strikes me that more work is done outside than watching the bear-baiting that seems to define the debating chamber!
Well I can only speak for what I have observed Norman Baker's involvement and responses over the years and have no concerns as to how much time he and fellow MPs sit in Parliament compared to work done for his constituency. Strikes me that more work is done outside than watching the bear-baiting that seems to define the debating chamber! Tailgaters Anonymous
  • Score: -5

10:03am Tue 11 Mar 14

We are the 99% says...

Well they do have other jobs outside Parliament?
Some work part-time as school crossing guards!
Some work in Care Homes looking after pensioners!
Some sweep the streets!
Yeah sure!
Expect these people to do something they expect the public to do for the pittance they get?
That's beneath their status isn't it?
They will of course say, that they need to spend time to meet their constituents?

Ever tried to meet your MP?

2 hours, on the last Friday etc in every month (if you're lucky), to meet the peasants (sorry public), and to have to endure listening to the peasants (sorry public's) problems?

Must be gruelling having to face a person whose problems they more or likely CAUSED?

And you think they care?

THEY will only give you lip service and a letter of platitude! But you could always use these letters if the food bank runs out of toilet paper!

Most of these 'so-called representatives of the people', will just sit at home counting their money, or pop into their part-time directorships so they can count the money they make sitting as pat-time directors for big businesses! Or they'll be looking for part time directorships/part time as non-executive directors of big business to boost their already inflated salaries and perks!

They say these is why the public feel nothing but utter contempt for MP's?

I think contempt is saying it mildly!
Well they do have other jobs outside Parliament? Some work part-time as school crossing guards! Some work in Care Homes looking after pensioners! Some sweep the streets! Yeah sure! Expect these people to do something they expect the public to do for the pittance they get? That's beneath their status isn't it? They will of course say, that they need to spend time to meet their constituents? Ever tried to meet your MP? 2 hours, on the last Friday etc in every month (if you're lucky), to meet the peasants (sorry public), and to have to endure listening to the peasants (sorry public's) problems? Must be gruelling having to face a person whose problems they more or likely CAUSED? And you think they care? THEY will only give you lip service and a letter of platitude! But you could always use these letters if the food bank runs out of toilet paper! Most of these 'so-called representatives of the people', will just sit at home counting their money, or pop into their part-time directorships so they can count the money they make sitting as pat-time directors for big businesses! Or they'll be looking for part time directorships/part time as non-executive directors of big business to boost their already inflated salaries and perks! They say these is why the public feel nothing but utter contempt for MP's? I think contempt is saying it mildly! We are the 99%
  • Score: 9

10:09am Tue 11 Mar 14

Simon Philips says...

You can clock watch Mr Baker?
Just think Mr Baker!
14 months 6 days 14 hours until your Tory ingrained Fib Dems extinction!
You can clock watch Mr Baker? Just think Mr Baker! 14 months 6 days 14 hours until your Tory ingrained Fib Dems extinction! Simon Philips
  • Score: 9

10:16am Tue 11 Mar 14

The Real Phil says...

Another week away from Westminster is another week in which they could not be claiming allowances relating to attendance. Multiply that by the number of sitting MP's and it looks like a good deal for the taxpayers.
Another week away from Westminster is another week in which they could not be claiming allowances relating to attendance. Multiply that by the number of sitting MP's and it looks like a good deal for the taxpayers. The Real Phil
  • Score: 3

10:47am Tue 11 Mar 14

gheese77 says...

Well they need time to devote to their other jobs. How can you possibly devote time to you various other paid jobs if you have to keep turning up at the house of commons.
Well they need time to devote to their other jobs. How can you possibly devote time to you various other paid jobs if you have to keep turning up at the house of commons. gheese77
  • Score: 3

10:48am Tue 11 Mar 14

Durango_Splubb says...

One less week dozing off on the green benches, one less week of scrounging, fiddling and waffling, one more week dossing on full pay and perks.

We pay their utilities bills, their duck houses, their moat cleaning, we pay for the food they scoff, we even in IDS's case pay for his underpants! So we'll still have to keep paying for the fragile little darlings but at least they won't be causing quite so much chaos and mayhem!
One less week dozing off on the green benches, one less week of scrounging, fiddling and waffling, one more week dossing on full pay and perks. We pay their utilities bills, their duck houses, their moat cleaning, we pay for the food they scoff, we even in IDS's case pay for his underpants! So we'll still have to keep paying for the fragile little darlings but at least they won't be causing quite so much chaos and mayhem! Durango_Splubb
  • Score: 4

10:50am Tue 11 Mar 14

gheese77 says...

The Real Phil wrote:
Another week away from Westminster is another week in which they could not be claiming allowances relating to attendance. Multiply that by the number of sitting MP's and it looks like a good deal for the taxpayers.
Unfortunately you are incorrect, MPs will claim expenses for all sorts of activities, including those away from the house of commons, including that summer 'fact finding trip to mauritus'
[quote][p][bold]The Real Phil[/bold] wrote: Another week away from Westminster is another week in which they could not be claiming allowances relating to attendance. Multiply that by the number of sitting MP's and it looks like a good deal for the taxpayers.[/p][/quote]Unfortunately you are incorrect, MPs will claim expenses for all sorts of activities, including those away from the house of commons, including that summer 'fact finding trip to mauritus' gheese77
  • Score: 7

10:52am Tue 11 Mar 14

michael505 says...

What a joke. They get a vast increase in their pay and what happens they work less. Unbelievable. Money for old rope.
What a joke. They get a vast increase in their pay and what happens they work less. Unbelievable. Money for old rope. michael505
  • Score: 7

2:48pm Tue 11 Mar 14

getThisCoalitionOut says...

Thieving, lazy bar stewards.
Thieving, lazy bar stewards. getThisCoalitionOut
  • Score: 2

6:39pm Tue 11 Mar 14

PETE OF QUEENS PARK says...

No comment from Brussels Lucas?
No comment from Brussels Lucas? PETE OF QUEENS PARK
  • Score: 2

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