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Sussex MPs defend extra break from Parliament
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.
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