MPs to vote on starting summer holiday early

MPs are due to begin their summer break next week but, as Theresa May's Brexit headache continues, a vote is expected to take place allowing politicians to start their six-week holiday early.

But the Prime Minister, whose Government has tabled a motion calling for the current parliamentary session to be cut short, has been accused of "running scared" amid Brexit turmoil.

An undercurrent of Tory rebellion has been brewing against the increasingly politically fragile premier, and on Monday Mrs May acceded to Brexiteer demands to stem a threatened uprising on customs legislation.

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Prime Minister Theresa May has been accused of 'running scared' amid Brexit turmoil (Matt Cardy/PA)

For someone in her position perhaps an early holiday, beginning on Thursday rather than next Tuesday, would be an almighty relief.

But it could be difficult to muster support for such a move, with Tory and Labour MPs alike outspoken against the idea.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, a member of the Health Select Committee, said the committee would sit as planned next Tuesday.

She tweeted: "I will not be voting for an early recess. @CommonsHealth will be sitting as usual on Tuesday 24th to hear from the Secretary of State."

Pro-EU Tory Phillip Lee, who quit as a minister over Brexit, condemned any thought of an earlier break as "shameful" at a "crucial time".

He tweeted: "I can't possibly go along with that and I don't see how anyone else could at this critical time with the clock ticking on #Brexit; it would be shameful even to consider it."

Labour's Paula Sherriff said she had "important meetings" scheduled for next week and would vote against the move.

She tweeted: "Govt are running scared and using silly tactics to avoid plotting by their own MPs."

Labour MP Mary Creagh also threw her weight behind a no vote, saying "this is no time for a holiday", while SNP MP Dr Philippa Whitford accused Mrs May of wanting an early recess "because she is running scared".

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said such a vote, listed for Tuesday evening, shows the Government is in "chaos".

He tweeted: "Government's plan to close Parliament on Thursday and send MPs home early for summer is because Theresa May is fearful of Tory MPs hanging around plotting against her. It shows what chaos this Government is in.

"Let me make it clear that I will be voting against breaking up early."

Government's plan to close Parliament on Thursday and send MPs home early for summer is because Theresa May is fearful of Tory MPs hanging around plotting against her. It shows what chaos this government is in.Let me make it clear that I will be voting against breaking up early.

-- John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) July 16, 2018

Even an early recess may not stop a potentially stinging resignation statement from Boris Johnson.

The ex-foreign secretary used a Daily Telegraph column to ominously say "I will resist - for now - the temptation to bang on about Brexit".

But even if the Commons breaks up early, Mr Johnson would still have another few days to make a Commons statement that could have echoes of Geoffrey Howe's devastating resignation speech after quitting Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet in a row over Europe.

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