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MPs' summer break cut to 38 days

MPs will have their summer break cut to 38 days this year when the Commons sits in September for the first time since 2004, the Government announced today.

The House of Commons will rise on July 29 and is set to return on Monday September 6 for two weeks of business before the party conference season.

Leader of the House Sir George Young announced the changes to MPs during business questions.

It follows a pledge earlier this month by Prime Minister David Cameron that if elected he would ensure MPs would not get an "absurd" three-month summer recess.

It is believed the Commons has only had formal September sittings twice in living memory, in 2004 and 2003, under reforms introduced by the then Leader of the House Robin Cook.

Mr Cameron's official spokesman told reporters: "This is a commitment that the Prime Minister has had for some time, to reduce the size of the recess and move away from the situation we had in the past, where we had a period of three months in the summer."

Asked whether the shorter summer recess would be a fixture of the parliamentary calendar in future years, the spokesman said timetables for Westminster sittings were set at the time.