What is a summer recess for the Government and when are they back to work?

 (Photo by Jessica Taylor / UK Parliament / AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jessica Taylor / UK Parliament / AFP via Getty Images)

The Government‘s summer recess has now ended, meaning Parliament is back to work after weeks of rest.

The previous recess dates took place for the Coronation and Whitsun.

During the summer recess, most important meetings and government action were paused, but what exactly is it, why do we have one, and what happens in the time they are all off?

What is summer recess?

During the parliamentary year, the House of Commons and House of Lords will periodically close for a break, with neither meeting to discuss government matters.

These periods are called parliamentary recess.

A few events are put on hold during this time, for example, the Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), which take place every Wednesday at noon.

Does this mean PMQs is back on this week?

Yes, it does. After a long break — the last PMQs took place on July 19 — every political anorak’s favourite event of the week will return this Wednesday, September 6.

There are other cases in which a Parliament is suspended, for example, Parliament was suspended on September 23, 2022, because of the Labour and Conservative party conferences.

The Labour Party Conference runs from October 8 to 11 this year, with the Conservative Party Conference running from October 1-4, with the Liberal Democrat’s at the end of this month (September 23-26).

Why do we have summer recess?

They allow MPs and Members of the House of Lords to carry out other duties.

There are six parliamentary recesses in total: February, Whitsun, Summer, Conference, November, and Christmas.

The decision to recall Parliament lies with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

What do MPs do when they are away from Parliament?

Although MPs will take a break from Westminster, their extended holiday doesn’t finish with the summer recess.

They will continue to be held accountable for their constituent efforts. In fact, ensuring they have enough time to complete their constituency duties is part of the reason recesses exist.

MPs are expected to continue holding advice clinics and communicating with their constituents throughout their breaks.

Party conferences are typically held at the conclusion of the summer break. Attendance at these is expected of all MPs.