Deadlocked Commons repeatedly clocks off early despite warnings not to waste Brexit extension

PUBLISHED: 00:01 29 May 2019

Houses of Parliament
Photo: PA / Tim Ireland

Houses of Parliament Photo: PA / Tim Ireland

PA Wire/PA Images

MPs have failed to use more than 23 hours in the House of Commons despite the EU warning them not to "waste this time" gained in the Brexit extension.

The main chamber rose early 14 times out of 18 between the Easter and May recesses.

This is despite warnings from EU council president Donald Tusk telling MPs "please do not waste this time" when he granted the UK an extension to Brexit until the end of October.

The Brexit deadlock has left MPs caught up in backbench motions or general Brexit debates, as well as several opposition day debates granted to Labour.

But there is a lack of business put forward by the government and there has been almost no legislation to scrutinise.

SNP Commons leader Pete Wishart told the Press Association: "We have been told by the EU not to waste the time granted to find a Brexit solution but yet the house is doing everything possible to do just that.

"The house now regularly rises early because of lack of business.

"Calling this a zombie parliament would be to actually disrespect the brain-eating living dead.

"We are now in business purgatory and this can not go on. We have to get down to work."

There have only been two formal votes since April 10, one of which was on a Labour opposition motion and another a deferred vote on secondary legislation.

One day saw the Commons sit for just three and a half hours - rising four hours and 26 minutes ahead of schedule.

On five other days, proceedings have been cut short by more than two hours and three times by more than an hour.

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On two days, however, business overran by around 20 minutes.

The chamber is now on an 11-day recess, not returning until Tuesday June 4.

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