MPs 'on the skive' on mini-break, says union leader

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Indy Politics

MPs are "on the skive", a union leader complained today as Commons authorities defended the decision to call a short break in November.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow criticised politicians for taking an autumn mini-break when voters were feeling the pinch of Government austerity measures.

The Commons will pack up on Tuesday November 15 and not return until the following Monday under a timetable published by Leader of the House Sir George Young.

It replaces the break traditionally held around that time of year ahead of the Queen's Speech, which has been postponed by the coalition until the spring.

Mr Crow said: "While working people are struggling round the clock to make ends meet, the same politicians who unleashed the austerity programme have been caught out on the skive.

"We will take no more of the 'we are all in this together' rubbish from this crowd."

A spokesman for Sir George said the recess was shorter than those in the past around the Queen's Speech and MPs were taking less time off altogether than in the last parliament.

Next year's summer holiday will also again be significantly shorter than those of previous years, with MPs returning to Westminster in September ahead of the party conferences.

"We will be sitting for more days in the first two years of this Parliament than in the first two years of the last Parliament," the spokesman said.

"The Government is also ensuring that the House sits more evenly throughout the year, rather than breaking up for an 82-day summer recess as under the previous government.

"As usual, MPs continue to undertake important constituency and select committee work, even when the House is not sitting for the two days in question."

He pointed out that the Commons had also been recalled from recess several times in recent months to debate phone hacking, riots and military action in Libya.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Parliament will be sitting more days in the first two years of this parliament than it did in the first two years of the last parliament."