The House of Commons has been in recess since 22 July. Parliament resumes Business on 12 October. I have always believed that such a long summer recess is not good for our democracy . Parliamentarians are unable to question the Executive and hold it to account. We should sit in September before breaking for the Party conference season and have shorter recesses to correspond with school holidays. The long recess gives ammunition to malicious, ill informed commentators and columnists who falsely suggest that Members of Parliament have an 82 day “holiday”. This year one organisation has even asked the public to write in with “sightings of MPs” in exotic destinations. Well in case they have not been informed yet by the many constituents I have been speaking to recently, let me help them by giving details of where I have been in the last three weeks - the fantastic exotic vistas of Ilford, Gants Hill, Seven Kings and Westminster! That is because during my recess so far I have been working in the constituency or in my House of Commons office. I have also given a considerable number of interviews on TV and radio. I held a six hour long advice surgery, and my House of Commons and constituency offices also dealt with issues and problems raised by constituents in email , by phone and letter. I met the Leader of Redbridge Council and other councillors to discuss Borough issues. I spoke to the Friends of Ilford Hospital Chapel. I joined the annual Chariot Ceremony and procession organised by the Ley Street Hindu temple. I visited the Barking Park Short Mat Bowls Association and attended the Sports Day event at Guru Gobindh Singh Khalsa College. This coming weekend I will be at the Diversity Festival in Loxford Park. That will be the fourth consecutive recess weekend when I will be working on Sunday. So much for my “holiday”.
14 August 2009