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Parliamant in recess for too long says watchdog chair

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Parliamant in recess for too long says watchdog chair

Post  Panda on Mon 22 Apr - 9:55

Parliament in recess for too long, says watchdog chair

Parliament is "failing to provide good value for money" and the Coalition
should lengthen the Parliamentary calendar or risk being seen as "lazy", the
chair of a Commons spending watchdog has claimed.

Margaret Hodge says 'we are
spending much of our time in recess'. Photo: DANIEL

By Rosa Silverman

6:30AM BST 22 Apr 2013

Speaking as politicians prepared for another break away from Westminster,
Labourís Margaret Hodge said MPs were spending much of their time in recess
despite the need to scrutinise the Government's response to the economic crisis.

She said it "feels as if we are hardly working" and that Parliament was the
"most sluggish" part of the country's political system.

The current parliamentary session is winding down, with both Houses of
Parliament expected to rise for a few days ahead of the Queen's Speech on May 8.

MPs only returned from their Easter recess last week and peers are back at
work today for the first time since March 27.

Mrs Hodge, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, told The Guardian: "We
are living through the worst economic crisis in modern times, MPs have a lot to
do and yet we are spending much of our time in recess.

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"Members of the public would be forgiven for thinking that it is MPs who are
lazy and that it is Parliament that is failing to provide good value for money.

"The committee I chair spends a lot of time scrutinising public spending and
whether it is worthwhile and yet the very heart of government - Parliament -
seems to be the most sluggish part of our system.

"We are not spending enough time in Westminster, and this creates a
democratic vacuum. The executive can go on and you cannot hold them to the
account. It feels as if we are hardly working."

But Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker told the newspaper: "I think that
it is a misunderstanding that the amount of work an MP does is reflected by the
number of days that Parliament sits. It isn't.

"Some MPs work bloody hard all year round and others don't."
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