MPs vote against a recess to hold Tory party conference

PUBLISHED: 14:06 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:06 26 September 2019

Tory supporters arriving for the Conservative Party annual conference. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Tory supporters arriving for the Conservative Party annual conference. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Archive/PA Images

MPs have voted against giving the Conservatives time off from parliament to hold their party conference - Boris Johnson's seventh defeat in the House of Commons.

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The Tories had hoped for a three-day Commons recess starting on Monday to enable the four-day event to take place from Sunday.

Instead MPs will sit between Monday and Thursday after the House of Commons voted 306 to 289 votes against a recess.

Several former Tory ministers, now sitting as Independent MPs, opposed the recess motion including Amber Rudd, Ken Clarke, David Gauke, Justine Greening and Dominic Grieve.

Former ministers including Greg Clark, Caroline Nokes and Steve Brine backed the Conservatives.

It is estimated the conference is worth more than £30 million to Manchester, and there were concerns that local businesses would suffer if it was curtailed.

"If they do not allow Conservative Party conference to go ahead with a recess at the same time, it will be incredibly damaging for the economy of Manchester," said a Number 10 source.

Labour's Lucy Powell said in the House of Commons last night that "livelihoods depend on" the Conservatives' annual conference going ahead in the city.

It is possible that the government could attempt to suspend parliament to enable the conference to take place.

A senior Tory source had insisted the conference would go ahead regardless, but acknowledged without parliament in recess it would need to be "scaled back" in places.

Naomi Smith from the Best for Britain group said: "Boris Johnson has lost yet another Commons vote. He truly is a record-breaking PM for all the wrong reasons.

"He and his government are treating this process as a game, when in reality lives are at stake. Our elected Parliament must be allowed to sit during this time of crisis.

"His language yesterday brought shame on the office of prime minister. Instead of trying to get more time off, he should apologise for his actions."

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